21st Annual Canoe Daze Brings Communities Together to Promote Healthy Living

On August 26, the community of Tsiigehtchic came together for the 21st time for the Annual Canoe Daze. The community had a few sponsors and was held by the Tsiigehtchic Charter Community Recreation Department. Charlene Blake explained that the purpose of the Canoe Daze is “to promote healthy living, to gather people Old and New. This event even attracts people from the surrounding communities.” It’s a great opportunity to bring people together in a positive environment.

The canoe daze event is not meant to be a fundraiser, but the committee does sell raffle tickets and open a canteen during the weekend of the event and sell navadas (tickets that are sold for $1.00 in books of 10; when opened, they reveal a prize value up to $500)  throughout, in order to break even on the cost of hosting the event. Blake said they try to raise “money so we don’t have a deficit. We also try to get a lot of people in the canoe races and for everyone to have an enjoyable time.” It’s a smart strategy for any event organizer. Even if the purpose of your event is not to make money, there’s no reason you should lose money on it either!

To create an interest in the community for the event every year, the Tsiigehtchic Charter Community Recreation Department uses advertisements on the radio, email reminders, Facebook invites, and personal telephone calls as well an interview on the radio. All methods were successful and led to a memorable weekend of fun. Casting a wide net helps ensure reaching a wide audience, especially if organizers wish to reach across generation and culture lines to create diversity at the event.

For a large, community based event, Blake said they started planning well in advance. “We started planning right after the winter/spring event which was in back in April. When you plan a big event you need to meet with the right people, get the sponsors, start your fundraising, overall planning the event was easy just making sure you have what you need for the event to be successful,” she explained.

Blake said that the weekend they hosted the canoe daze, the military was also in the area for training exercises. “At the traditional drum dance most of the military guys got up to dance, and on the Saturday event at the river all the military took part in the hand games. It was incredible to see all the people that the event attracted on Saturday, many of which participated in the canoe races,” Blake said.