Next year, Power To Be will be celebrating 20 years of empowering freedom and excitement in the lives of countless youth and adults living with a barrier or disability.

Overcoming Barriers: The Beginning of Power To Be

The brain child of Tim Cormode, Power To Be began in 1998 with a plan: a way for people with disabilities or barriers to get out in and interact with nature, to take part in the outdoor adventures so intrinsic to our west coast persona.

From that point on, the organization, which now has program offices in both Victoria and Vancouver and numerous awards to its name, has worked hard to help people overcome physical, social, or cognitive barriers that previously prevented them from experiencing our province’s beautiful natural features.

Power to Be Kayaking

Power To Be offers year-round adventures through two program streams: Adaptive Recreation and Wilderness School. The former takes people living with a barrier or disability on inclusive adventures that give them the chance to hone their skills and see how much they’re capable of. Wilderness School takes youth groups out of the city and into the wild on monthly weekend-long trips and longer summer expeditions over the course of three years. Both program streams offer activities such as kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, paddleboarding and more. Last year, Power To Be helped nearly 1200 participants find out just how much “ability” they have.

The organization is able to offer these life-changing opportunities thanks to a fleet of dedicated staff and volunteers, and the support of hundreds of companies and individuals. In addition to general donations, Power To Be hosts three fundraisers each year: Power to Golf, Power To Play Victoria and Power To Play Vancouver.

Power To Play is an outdoor corporate challenge event that puts the “fun” in fundraiser. Four-person teams compete first through raising donations and then over land and water, aiming to bring home the best time in a race that challenges their communication skills and teamwork on mental and physical challenges. This year, the fundraiser’s 35 teams brought in $223,000 in Victoria for the organization and Power To Play Vancouver is slated for September 21st.


Community Supporter Dave Burden on Power To Be

Thanks to their unique and heartfelt mission, Power To Be has amassed an impressive collective of dedicated supporters both in front of and behind the scenes. Dave Burden is one such supporter, his passion for Power To Be tangible in his fervent discussion of the organization.

Dave Burden Power to be Supporter

Dave is a wealth advisor with Scotia Wealth Management. He discovered Power To Be about eight years ago, and found it a perfect fit for his interests – helping kids (he’s a former high school math teacher), and getting out in nature.

“Dave exemplifies community and giving back,” says Cormode. “He understands that philanthropy isn’t just about donating money. It’s about donating your time and talent, and bringing your resources to the table to make the world a better place. We at Power To Be are lucky to have him as part of our family.”

Philanthropy isn’t just about donating money. It’s about donating your time and talent.

Dave has been an ardent participant ever since, sitting on the advisory committee and taking a team to Power To Play Victoria for the past seven seasons. The last five annual events concluded in Dave’s team winning the honoured Act of Kindness Award in recognition of their outstanding fundraising chops; they have raised between $11,000 and $16,000 each year since 2013.

Power to Be Random Acts of Kindness

Power to Be Random Acts of Kindness

He is quick to praise the donation assistance he receives both from fellow advisors and his network. Power To Be’s mission basically promotes itself, and people are drawn to the exciting, engaging challenge at the end, a welcome change from formal silent charity auctions.

Power to Be Random Acts of Kindness

“Going there doesn’t seem like work,” Dave says of his time spent with Power To Be. He is the perfect spokesperson for finding a charity or organization that really resonates – something about which you and your employees are passionate. Work can be work enough, without the added toll of having to volunteer at, or talk to potential supporters about a charity with which you feel no passionate connection.

[Find] a charity or organization that really resonates – something about which you and your employees are passionate.

While Dave doesn’t factor personal financial benefit into his reasons for helping Power To Be, he does recognize the wonderful effect building these new relationships has had on his life, both in his career and privately. He plans to continue cultivating these long-lasting friendships and to compete in at least ten Power To Play challenges.


What’s to Come for Power To Be

The future of Power To Be also promises big things. The organization partnered with the Victoria-based Steele family on a 25-year lease of the former site of Prospect Lake Golf Course, which will become the organization’s new, permanent home base. The 78-acre property will give Power To Be plenty of much-needed space to store their nature exploration equipment, and the beautiful greenery and lake will make the dream of on-site programs a reality.

To support the development of the site, HeroWork, another Victoria-based charity, selected Power To Be as one of its 2017 Radical Renovation recipients. More than 300 volunteers supported the project in July, which saw the addition of 400 metres of accessible pathways, a post and beam fire pavilion, campsites, outhouse facilities and more to the property. Proving the value of the work, Power To Be had a camping program with Wilderness School youth booked into the site the morning after HeroWork finished the renovation.

If you need more guidance in how your business can do good and create the perfect corporate giving plan, talk to our experts at HeartPress PR.