I was auctioned off for charity last week. My canoe buddy, Andy Baxter—that guy on my YouTube channel who looks and acts like comedian Red Skelton—organized it through his work at the Ministry of Natural Resources.
It was for the Federated Health Charity and the silent auction was held at Peterborough, Ontario’s Robinson Place. The winner received a full guided trip in Algonquin Provincial Park with Andy and I, complete with the usual antics and giggles that go along on our trips. My daughter and dog tagged along as well. Kyla missed out on a canoe trip with me this season, so I took the opportunity to have her tag along.
It was a full group. Karen, her 10-year-old son and his friend were the clients. Karen had worked in outdoor education and taking youth-at-risk out a decade ago and wanted to rekindle her times spent in a canoe. She also wanted to introduce the boys to canoe tripping. The three-night trip through a chain of lakes on the west side of the park allowed for both. By the end of the trip Karen, was smiling ear to ear and the boys couldn’t wait to head out on another trip.
Andy and I have done similar charity work in the past. It’s nice to help a non-profit organization, but the bonus for us is to get people out paddling. It was a blessing to introduce my daughter Kyla to the act of giving back as well. I’m seeing less and less of this—the idea of being more proactive towards helping others. In my option, a selfish society is a dead society. I’m seeing a lot of social media celebrities pushing for the spotlight—their few minutes of fame—always wanting more views, more followers…but not giving back at the same time. In the end their fan base will drift away and they’ll blame it on everything but themselves.
Over three nights spent in Algonquin, my 13-year-old daughter witnessed strangers gather to share a campsite, a muddy portage and few camp chores. A single mom saw a bit of her old self again. She saw her son and her friend gain strength and confidence in the wilds. Kyla also witnessed (and helped) her dad and best friend give back to a community of paddlers—making a small but dramatic change in this crazy world we live in.