Creating Diversity in the Outdoors.

In today’s outdoor sports world there is a growing chorus of voices challenging everyone to do more to help create a more diverse mix of people using the outdoors, companies like MEC here in Canada and Patagonia, REI and the North Face globally are all recognizing things need to change.

While this is catching on and becoming a topic of conversation in the broader industry, it is something that we have been focused on since our very first programs in 2008.  We are by no means flawless at this, but we are always working on improving and doing our part. When we look internally at core team of 4 – our Executive Director, Program Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator and President of our Board of Directors, 75% of these positions are held by women.  Our current Board of Directors is over 50% women and within our volunteer team so far in 2019 43% of them have been females.

Creating an environment where our participants will feel comfortable is important to our organization and we believe this starts at the top.  The activities we are introducing young people to can be intimidating, and learning new skills and and allowing others to be a part of your learning process can be a tough thing for anyone.  Having program leaders and volunteers that you can identify with can help make a person more comfortable in their environment and that can help a young person learn as they are able to focus more on the task at hand and less on worrying about if they should even be there.

The winter of 2019 brought great pride to our team as we could see the impact of our dedication to diversity starting to really show.  Our Learn to Shred and Shred More programs this winter saw 28 participants join us to spend time learning to snowboard and improving their skills.  We had 40% of our participants were females and at least 25% identify as First Nations. We also saw our highest number ever of previous graduates coming back to volunteer with the program and help spark a passion in the younger generation.  We believe having these returning participants is one of our largest successes as it shows they have remained passionate about the activity, but also recognize that coming back to share that with others and help teach is important. For our younger participants to see volunteers and mentors that have come through the programs and come from a similar background as them can be a powerful thing as it shows them what is possible and gives them something to strive for!

Each winter season, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and donors, we are able to provide a life changing gift to a few of our participants in our snowboard program.  Through our “Shred for Tristin Memorial Sponsorship”, our Rip Curl Youth Sponsorship and our own Youth Sponsorship participants selected by our team are provided with the gear they need to continue riding long after the program wraps up.  This season was a first for us…We saw the first female winner of one of these awards, quickly followed up with our second and third female winners!  These awards create a lasting impact for the winners as it helps remove many of the barriers they face to continued participation in the sport after our programs wrap up for the season.  To see the stoke on these young ladies faces when they learned their effort and attitude in the program created a lasting impression on our volunteers was an amazing experience to get to share with them.  A big THANK YOU to all of our sponsors and supporters that help us make those moments possible!








With other groups in town like the WFN Community Snowboard Team, Park Chics, and Chicks in the Sticks also doing their part to help create some diversity and giving our participants a comfortable space to move into after our programs we are just one small part to making some significant changes to the outdoors.  

We are always looking for more help and more diversity in our volunteer team.  If you or someone you know is passionate about the outdoors and would enjoy coming out to help build that passion in the next generation get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

Our programs are open to young people 12-18 and our summer camps start at age 10, with both paid and scholarship seats available in all programs.  Register your child online today for any of our programs and give them a chance to experience the many joys that sport can bring a person.




Thanks to all the following organizations for helping make this program possible


One Boardshop     Spy Optics City of Kelowna Rip Curl

This Program is made possible with funding from the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

A Shift…

A shift is occurring within our organization… a shift towards sustainability…towards greater diversity…towards the Future.

As we enter 2019 we are looking forward to a number of things as an organization.  First and foremost, the new year means another round of our longest running and most popular program, our Learn to Shred program.  Each winter brings a new crew of participants eager to learn how to snowboard and experience all the great things that comes with time spent playing in the mountains.  Once Spring hits we keep rolling with our climbing and mountain bike program to keep our local youth outside and active all year long!


2019 also represents the start of something new for Elevation Outdoors.  In 2018 we were successful in becoming one of two local organizations to benefit from the new United Way Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund with support from Interior Savings.  This support has allowed us to work with Purppl, a local Social Enterprise Incubator that helps organizations develop predictable and sustainable business models.


After 11 years of growth we realized that in order for Elevation Outdoors to still be around in another 11 years delivering great programs, and helping the youth in our community grow and learn, we needed to become a more sustainable organization ourselves.  While our community has always been incredibly generous and the support we receive has allowed us to reach this point, we know that to continue on with our mission we have to show our supporters and donors that we are evolving with the times.


In 2019 we are making a shift towards sustainability.  For the first time we will be opening up seats in each of our programs to families and youth that previously would not have been eligible to participate.  By adding a few seats into each program that are open to families that have the ability to pay for their child to participate, it brings in some much-needed funds to help us cover the costs of the programs for the families that are eligible for our scholarship seats.  We believe that this small shift can create some amazing outcomes. Sharing experiences with other youth that come from a different background can open up someone’s eyes and help them see that despite their differences they have more in common than perhaps they would have ever thought.  Sport can be a great equalizer, and we believe that by adding more diversity our programs it will create friendships that can carry through to school and life in a meaningful manner.

We believe that this change will over time create a sustainable, predictable revenue stream that will provide a strong foundation for our organization.  With donation rates in Canada in decline over the past couple of years, this shift will help us ensure we will be able to deliver on our vision to ensure “All local youth, regardless of personal circumstances, have the opportunity to make healthy lifestyle choices and experience personal growth through participation in challenging outdoor pursuits.”

We are proud to now be offering our programs to all young people in our community, regardless of background, to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all youth to find their passion for the outdoors.  Please help us spread the word that beginning February 2019, all youth in the Kelowna region are now able to participate in our programs and have life changing experiences.

Inspiring the next generation.


Inspiring the next generation. 

This is one of our biggest goals as an organization and the primary focus of all of our programs.  How do we reach youth that have never had the chance to participate in the sports we offer, and once we have how do we create a passion in them that will burn for years to come?  In addition to creating a passion within our participants, what can we do as an organization to remove some of the barriers they will face upon completing our programs in order to continue enjoying the activities they are now excited about?  These are the questions that are considered whenever we evaluate our programs and what we can do to make changes to what we offer.

During the 2018 winter season, unfortunately tragedy struck and a young man who inspired many through his passion for snowboarding, how he treated others, and his overall enthusiasm for life passed away while doing something he loved: Snowboarding.

As a result of this loss the community rallied around Tristin Croteau’s family, and came together to remember what he stood for and the impact he had made in countless lives.  Elevation Outdoors is incredibly humbled to be able to announce that we are working with his family to allow his legacy to continue through the Shred for Tristin Memorial Sponsorship.  As any rider knows, there is something about being able to get out on the mountain that can make life better no matter what else is going on in our lives.  Tristin embraced that, and this sponsorship will create an opportunity for the recipient of the award to continue to pursue their passion for the sport with far less barriers.  As a way to keep Tristin’s legacy alive each season one rider from our Shred More program will be selected by our team of volunteers to receive the award that we hope will be truly life changing.

Each year’s winner will receive all they need to keep riding after our programs wrap up: Board, boots, bindings, outer gear, helmets, and most importantly a season pass to Big White with the bus pass option for the following season.  This package will provide the winner an opportunity to continue to ride and have their passion for the sport continue to develop long after our programs have ended for the season.  It is the continued access through a season pass, and removing the transportation barrier to allow the winner to get to the mountain as often as they can that truly makes this award so impactful.  To create an opportunity like this for the sponsorship recipient we hope will allow them to carry on Tristin’s legacy and inspire others to get out and ride for the love of it.


“Never let go of the things you love.” – T.C.

We hope that our programs will ignite a fire deep inside the youth that are involved that will help keep them healthy and happy for the rest of their lives.  You never know where or when that inspiration will hit, be it in a simple conversation with one of our volunteers, or when they get to the bottom of a run and realize they did not fall the entire way down and that they can do this!  For some of us, we take it for granted that each winter will bring about the snowfall that allows us to get out and pursue our passions.  Through the Shred for Tristin Memorial Sponsorship we hope that each winner will be able to pursue their passion for the sport and carry on Tristin’s legacy and find their place in the same community that made Tristin feel so comfortable and confident.  For the winner to be able to build memories and skills that will last a life time is what inspires us to continue our work to create opportunities for young people to try something new and get out of their comfort zones.

Our inspiration is fed daily in many ways, through the generosity of our community, through the time and passion our amazing volunteers contribute to supporting our programs and engaging with the participants, and by seeing the look on a young persons face when they link their first turns and realize “I can do this!”.  We hope this award will inspire the winners, and many others to enjoy those moments of pure freedom experienced when all is washed away and the only concern is “what line to take next?”

What are you doing to inspire the next generation?


Mike Greer

Executive Director

Elevation Outdoors



Exciting News!

It is with great excitement that we are able to share this news!  Elevation Outdoors was chosen to be one of two recipients of the new Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund from the United Way CSO, Interior Savings and Purppl.

Elevation Outdoors has been working for the past 3 years to improve our own sustainability through the introduction of our “Intro to Adventure” summer camps and this investment will truly help us take our camps and our bus and bike rental programs to the next stage of growth.

“This investment will enable Elevation Outdoors to leverage the skills and equipment we already hold to increase our reach and become a more sustainable organization,” says Elevation Outdoors Founder Tori Hanson. “Our summer camps aim to get more young people into the outdoors, contributing to their mental and physical well-being, while generating income to subsidize our programs for at risk youth. The rental of our bike fleet and bus will help offset yearly operating costs.”

To see the full press release and learn more about the new fund from the United Way CSO and Interior Savings use the link below.

Local charities get boost from new Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund





Live to Ride - Mountain Biking

Creating Confidence

We live in the Okanagan Valley, home to a host of outdoor sport and recreational opportunities. Throughout my life I have always been a little anxious when I start to think about all of the possibilities I could possibly get myself involved in within the outdoors world. There are just that many options out there to try, and only so much time in this life to dedicate to said recreational opportunity. One must choose the time wisely. For example, there are infinite hikes and places to explore within this valley on foot and thinking about having only scratched the surface of these places, once again makes me panic just a little bit. I am driven to want to go to new local Okanagan places by bike, foot, or water vessel, see these places with my own kids, and explore all that this valley has to offer. Enter the feeling of anxiousness in trying to make this a reality… It is a feeling of ‘time is precious’, and I must choose the time to try new things and go new places well to be able to experience as much as possible. All of this is from the perspective of someone who has been dealt the great fortune of easily having opportunities to try these things, and an innate sense of adventure to go along with it.


But what exactly is it that makes someone want to try something new? A couple of key things come to mind: opportunity, and confidence. Being given opportunity to try new things comes from one’s own personal situation; family support, financial means, awareness, and community connections enable people to have their eyes opened to the possibilities that are out there.


Confidence though is an equally important piece to the adventurous puzzle, and one that does not necessarily come to everyone with ease. One can be born with a certain level of confidence but it is largely gained through personal experiences and character development.  Trying new things and putting yourself out there, to be willing to maybe make some mistakes and not have success the first time around takes the support of people around you; knowing that no one is going to laugh or make fun or you, but just be there to help you figure it out helps confidence grow. Hence, mentorship is also a big factor in building confidence. And so, without the confidence to believe in yourself and be comfortable to make mistakes, trying new things is not easy.


Within all of the Elevation Outdoors programs, we focus on Confidence as a theme. It is vitally important in helping young people grow and realize their full potential. We discuss what having confidence means, and also develop it through our programs by offering mentorship and new experiences. And in making mistakes, such as falling, then working through these mistakes and succeeding at the end, helps develop Confidence.

Giving opportunity to those who would not normally have it is also a fundamental part of Elevation Outdoors. We are providing the circumstances to young people with financial and social barriers to be able to try new things. We believe that everyone in this beautiful Okanagan valley should have the opportunity to try some of the amazing outdoor experiences that are out there, right at our fingertips. In this way we are also developing Confidence: allowing young people to try things out and have their eyes opened to some of the possibilities.   In providing the opportunity to try new things, and build confidence, we are providing Kelowna’s young people some of the tools for a successful life. In essence we are helping give the ability and confidence to become active and valuable members of this community. And with this gained confidence, we are encouraging that adventurous spirit in youth whose minds will be opened to many of the possibilities that are out there waiting for them to discover.


Tori Hanson


On the Lawn 2018!


March 27, 2018
Kelowna BC — The 4th annual lawn bowling fundraiser — On The Lawn — will open its team registration at 9am on March 30th. The event, in its fourth year running and proudly powered by BDO, raised over $23,000 for Kelowna-based charity, Elevation Outdoors in 2017.

This year, On The Lawn brings you the same quality event where teams of four head down to the Kelowna Lawn Bowling Club, step back in time, roll some bowls and have a truly awesome time. The fundraiser takes place over three consecutive Thursdays starting July 26th where all proceeds will go towards helping underprivileged youth participate in outdoor sports programs native to the Okanagan — such as snowboarding, mountain biking, sailing and climbing.

“Elevation Outdoors is thrilled to be involved with On The Lawn again for year four,” said executive director, Mike Greer. “Last year’s event was a great success for us with a big financial impact and an incredible amount of exposure to Kelowna’s young professional community.”

“BDO is delighted to be partnered with On the Lawn again to offer this extremely fun community event to young area professionals.   We actively look to support the events and activities our clients and employees care about – this event and cause tick both boxes,” stated Mike Gilmour, BDO Office Managing Partner.

The funds from 2017’s On The Lawn powered by BDO continued to make a significant impact for Elevation Outdoors. A portion of the money raised by the event is now allocated to support each of the programs for 2018, which will all see an increase in the number of young people participating. Contributions from OTL have also helped secure additional grant money. The expansion of Elevation’s programs is a direct result of the success of OTL in previous years; as a large portion of the money from the first two years went towards securing the purchase of a mini bus. With the bus, Elevation Outdoors can accept more youth into their programs, generating a greater impact in the Kelowna community.

Similar to bocce, where the object of the game is to get your bowl closest to the jack, lawn bowling can be enjoyed by people of all ages — even though it was once thought of as a game for the elderly.

On The Lawn powered by BDO is an event aimed at those in Kelowna’s growing young professional community who are interested in trying out something new — all while making a difference in their community.

Due to the popularity of the previous years’ events, the 26 available team spots are expected to fill quickly. Teams can register for On The Lawn starting Friday, March 30th at 9am.
About On The Lawn powered by BDO
Designed for young professionals in Kelowna, On The Lawn powered by BDObrings three evenings of entertainment, networking and socializing in the form of a lawn bowling tournament and finale party. Starting July 26th, they invite Okanagan fun-seekers to step back in time, roll some bowls, sip a cool beverage, and have a truly awesome time. 26 teams of four will bowl it out each week. On The Lawn will provide bowls, music, BBQ, wine, beer, and cocktails, all at Kelowna’s downtown, lakeside, sun-drenched Bowling Club. All proceeds go to our chosen charity, Elevation Outdoors.
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Watch Highlights from 2017

About Elevation Outdoors
Kelowna based Elevation Outdoors’ mission is to enhance the lives of underprivileged youth via participation in specially designed outdoor sports programs such as skiing, sailing, and climbing. All programs are offered free of charge to eligible youth as Elevation Outdoors believes that no young person should be denied the potential to discover an outdoor sport or pursuit that can help keep him or her motivated, healthy, and happy in life.
Website | Facebook

About BDO
With over 100 offices nationwide, BDO is one of the leading accounting and advisory firms in Canada with our strengths firmly rooted in the communities we serve. Our professionals combine personalized, local advice and service with national resources and experience.  As a member firm of the international BDO network, they leverage the knowledge and experience of advisors from over 1,000 offices in more than 100 countries.
BDO Canada LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms.
Website | LinkedIn | Twitter

For PR Inquiries:
Katherine Bramall

For Sponsorship Inquiries:
Daylin Mantyka
March 26, 2018 admin Tags: charityElevation OutdoorsBDOfundraiserKelownalawn bowlingOn The Lawn

Support: (Verb) To give assistance to, enable to function or act.

Support: (Verb) To give assistance to, enable to function or act.


Support is vital to survival, without it no business or individual will last long.  It impacts all aspects of what we do, and comes in too many forms and manners to fully explain.  From the financial support we receive from granting agencies to the support provided by our volunteer mentors to our participants it is in everything we do as an organization.  As we celebrate 10 years as an organization there is no way we can thank everyone that has provided Elevation Outdoors with support over the years.


The biggest thing we can do in our community is take the support we receive and give back to the young people we work with, and support their families to help create opportunities that may not otherwise exist.  It is through this thought process that we have been able to create our Youth Sponsorship program in an effort to create some possibility for a few deserving young people each year.  As part of our Learn to Shred program our Youth Sponsorship is a result of the support we receive from our sponsors.  Our volunteer crew has the privilege of selecting one participant from each program based on their overall attitude, willingness to learn, attendance, and passion for the sport to receive the sponsorship.  As one of our goals is to break down barriers to participation for young people, the youth selected receives all the equipment they would need to continue snowboarding for years to come after completing our program.


In 2018 one of our long-time sponsors for the Learn to Shred program, Rip Curl, stepped up and asked how they could get more involved with this opportunity as they saw the impact it can create in a young person’s life.  In an effort to help keep this sponsorship viable they provided us with an amazing package of outerwear, base layers, socks, toques and facemasks to outfit a winner to go along with a snowboard, boots, pack and helmet that we have from our other sponsors and supporters.  To see the look on a young person’s face, and see the pride in their parents’ eyes, when they are told they are the recipient of this award is something all of our team involved will never forget.  Without passion life is a dull version of what it could be.  Having the ability to support the passion of a few young people each year in this manner rings true to our mission and our values as an organization.  This is just one small example of the many ways the support provided to our organization can create a lasting impact on our community and in the lives of the participants in our programs.

We want to say a big THANK YOU to every person, organization, granting agency, funder, board member, and volunteer that has lent us support over our first 10 years.  As we look towards the future we are excited about the direction we are headed, and in our ability to support countless more young people in their journey of self-discovery as they try new activities, develop new friendships, and hopefully find a lifelong passion that will support them through the good times and the bad that life inevitably brings to all of us.  Without each and every one of you we would not be where we are today; with a strong foundation as an organization dreaming of what the next 10 years will bring.

Mike Greer

Executive Director

Elevation Kids Volunteers Snowboarding Group Shot

Why do we do what we do?

Over the years I have been involved with Elevation Outdoors this question has come up many times.  As time passes we get asked this question less frequently, but it still comes up here and there.

The answer is always easy, passion.  A passion for sport, a passion for helping others, a passion for youth, a passion for giving back to our community, and most of all wanting to share our passion with others in the hope it can make an impact on their lives like it has on ours.  Every person that is involved with Elevation Outdoors does so because of a passion that lives within them.  One of the first questions we ask any new volunteer that is interested in joining our team is why do they want to be involved with Elevation Outdoors.  The number one answer we hear back from people is that they want to help introduce an activity they care about and that has helped shape them into the person they are today with the next generation of young people.

Live to Ride - Mountain Biking

Our goal is to help young people in our community try new things and inspire them to find an activity that they can get excited about, that will give them the motivation to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning, not because they have to, but because they want to!  We all have those friends that seem to be a bit crazy, the ones that are up before dawn to drive a couple hours in order to go play outside all day long, get home long after dark only to do it over again the next day.  While many of us think they are crazy, we are willing to bet if you sit down to talk to them about those days their eyes will light up, the excitement in their voice will be apparent and their passion will be contagious.

That is what we want to show the young people that participate in our programs.  That life is far more fulfilling when you have a passion.  In life, there will be good times and there will be hard times.  The good are made better and the hard can be a bit easier if through it all you have a burning passion that cannot be taken away.  Having a bad day? Go for a mountain bike ride and all of a sudden things aren’t so bad.  Just got some great news? Let’s go snowboarding this weekend to celebrate!  For us here at Elevation Outdoors it is for activities like snowboarding, sailing, rock climbing and mountain biking.  For others, it can be drawing, acting, running or travelling.  What is truly important is that each young person is provided with an opportunity to experience new things and allowed to find that one thing, or three things, that will instil them with a passion that makes life worth living.   Finding that passion can give a person motivation to succeed in other area’s of life because it will allow them to spend more time doing what they love.  It can give a person a sense of purpose and drive that will last a lifetime.

So why do we do what we do?  It’s in our blood, it’s in our hearts, it’s what gets us out of bed every day, if we did not share our passion with others we would not be staying true to ourselves. 

We hope that everyone can find that thing in their lives that keeps them going and helps them lead an inspired, healthy life.

Want to share your passion with us?  Get in touch at