First Canadian Challenge Benefit
Preparations for the first Canadian Challenge Benefit in Vancouver began in July of this year. Initially, a golf tournament with a regular format was proposed. However, the organizers decided to partner up with two Canadian charities, ShelterBox and the Victoria Human Exchange Society.
The two charities share many of the values of TPRF, and the partnership proved to be very successful. ShelterBox provides emergency shelter to people and the Victoria Human Exchange Society helps house local people who have fallen upon hard times.
With a large team of 29 volunteers working together for over 12 weeks, this proved to be a demanding project to manage. But there was so much good will and dedication that the teamwork really paid off. Gwenda Ellwood, one of the organizers, said, “The team was amazing and we all learned so much. It was like a geyser of energy for three months!”
To promote the tournament a dedicated website and new promotional materials were created. In the future the team hopes that this website will act as an archive, offering an online booking facility and materials’ templates. It could be resource for other communities to plug into and create their own fundraising event.
The Canadian Challenge took place at Northview Golf and Country Club in Surrey, British Columbia, a few miles outside of Vancouver. The club has a reputation for world-class standards and played host to the PGA Tour for many years. The grounds are beautifully manicured and offer two challenging 18-hole courses.
Rain fell relentlessly for four days before the tournament, causing some concern, but on the day of the tournament the weather held fair and the course was perfect.
A unique and exciting feature of this event was the fundraising helicopter “ball drop,” which attracted participants from all over the world. Volunteers marked golf balls with numbers. The balls were then dropped onto the lawn with the pilot skillfully maneuvering over the course. Owners of the nearest and farthest balls from the hole received a surprise gift of $100 and $50, respectively.
Sponsorship came from regional businesses, and supporters of TPRF from all over the region, and as far as from Montreal and Toronto, gave generous donations. Prizes and silent auction items came largely from companies whose products promote conscious living, beauty, and healing. Also offered at auction were island holiday packages and a variety of works of art from local artists.
Tim Gallwey generously sponsored and facilitated an Inner Game golf clinic, with some novices discovering the joys of golf for the first time.
Twenty-nine players competed in the tournament, and afterwards 69 people sat down to enjoy a barbeque. The dinner and awards ceremony opened with a beautiful song from guitarist, Dennis Lakusta, a member of the Alive Poets Society.
After the tournament Patricia Fitzgerald of the Victoria Human Exchange Society said she felt attracted to TPRF, because “... the teaching that inner peace is the beginning of peace on earth. Making connections with the inner self, and showing compassion for the people around us and all who are suffering in the world, is a common aim of our groups."
Christopher Loat for ShelterBox also commented, “Through your generosity and your support of the ShelterBox program you have brought hope, warmth, and dignity to many around the world who have lost everything in a natural disaster. Thank you.”
The first Canadian Challenge was declared a resounding success, raising public awareness of the humanitarian work of TPRF, ShelterBox and the Victoria Human Exchange Society. The event raised a total of over US$6,000 to be split equally among the three charities.