On Saturday, February 16, over twenty kids ranging from ages three and a half to fifteen years old took part in the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club (RSC) Youth Day 2019.
It is the fifth year the club has offered the free event and it attracted local youth and parents and those who came to town to take part. The one day event is geared to teach youth and their parents about backcountry safety.
Youth Day is an event born from tragedy.
“Five years ago, a sixteen year old club member passed away while sledding,” says Cathy Burke, a RSC Director. “This was a boy who knew what he was doing and had started riding when he was eight or nine years old. He knew the area.”
After his death, his parents requested that, rather than flowers, people instead made a donation to the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club.
“It was important to me that the money wasn’t used to pay a bill,” says Burke. “We decided we needed to do something for kids, to teach them and their parents how to have fun and be safe. Hopefully, it helps ensure we never have anything like that happen again in the future.”
On Youth Day, participants learn various outdoor survival skills. Nadine Overwater, an Avalanche Canada ambassador, and Brent Strand from Avalanche Canada, came out to teach the kids how to work a transceiver, search, prob and dig. The participants learned to light a fire with what is in their backpacks.The Revelstoke RCMP showed up to chat and REVSAR taught about trip planning, what to pack, and what to do if you become lost. The kids took part in a day long treasure hunt while they travelled up the Kirkup trail to the Boulder cabin together. Herb, RSC’s snowmobile safety instructor, was also on hand.
There are several event sponsors, including Avalanche Safety Solutions, Yamaha and Somewon Collective, Revelstoke Search and Rescue, Avalanche Canada, Yamaha Motor Canada, Rough Country Marine, Revelstoke Snowmobile Club, Revelstoke RCMP, and The City of Revelstoke.
Youth who attended ate a pizza lunch and left with bags that contained several outdoor essentials; a whistle, mirror, area map, avy info, terrain rating guide and evaluator, foil blankets, sunglasses, toque, and adventuresmart for trip planning needs.
Every year, Burke notes, they tell the story of how Youth Day came to be. It hits a chord with parents and kids alike. “It’s important because we are riding in memory of our young member who passed. He is the reason these kids are there,” says Burke.
“So often parents will ride with their children, but they aren’t talking about this stuff. Parents teach the sport, but aren’t talking about what can go wrong and what to do if it happens. The adults who come out are always receptive and learning along with the kids,” she says.
That is important for Burke and everyone at RSC. “If everyone remembers just one thing down the road if something happens they can help keep themselves safe,” says Burke.
RSC’s Youth Day will be back in 2020, and if your child wants to, or already does, head into the backcountry, be sure your kid is in the next years event.
Photographs by Kertis Broza