It was a chilly morning, but there were plenty of warm hearts who turned out to raise money for the Community Recreation Initiatives Society during the 6th Boucherie Grind on Sunday.
It was the first Boucherie Grind since the pandemic. The event is a major fundraiser for CRIS, but it was also a chance to say thank you to West Kelowna firefighters after the McDougall Creek wildfire and to hike up the mountain with them.
“Even though they have been just stretched like crazy over the summer with all the wildfires, they’re still helping us run programs,” said CRIS executive Director Nicole Chirkoff. “These guys will get off shift and then come help take people kayaking or hiking. It’s just amazing and we couldn’t do it without them.”
The West Kelowna Firefighters Charitable Society is a major supporter of CRIS, which has been breaking down barrier to outdoor recreation and sport since 2001.
Despite their many years in the community, Chirkoff says a lot of people are just finding out about the organization for the first time. “So we like to put on an event like this to raise awareness that we’re here, we’re available, demonstrate some of our equipment.
“I think a lot of people don’t even know who we are, don’t understand how much equipment we have and what is possible.”
CRIS offers everything from adaptive equipment rentals to accessible wilderness expeditions for people in the Central Okanagan with physical, cognitive, intellectual and sensory challenges. The goal is to promote independence, assist with integration, reduce isolation and improve mental-well being.
Proceeds from the Boucherie Grind will go to support local firefighting efforts and charities.