By Chris Foster
Executive Director of St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club
The 6th annual Race for Kids event is coming up on June 3rd, 2017!
For those who have not heard, Race for Kids is an exciting fundraising event cohosted by several Boys and Girls Club in Toronto. It is a combination of ‘The Amazing Race’ and ‘Minute To Win It,’ to reference of a couple of game shows. Teams of four receive a Clues Sheet at the race start and then have 3 hours to decipher the Clues to the determine the checkpoint locations around the city and complete the checkpoint challenges. Once all the checkpoints are completed, teams will receive their final clue to the location of the finish line and it is a dash (or in our case, mostly a fast walk) to the finish line. First place prize is 4 pairs of West Jet Tickets to fly anywhere!
My family and I have been participating in the race for the last four years, and it is one of my favourite events of the year for a few reasons: first, Race for Kids supports our favorite charity and Boys and Girls Club as all net proceeds (less direct event expenses) come directly to an affiliated Club (obviously for us it is St. Alban’s). We are proud to say that the teams supporting St. Alban’s have raised the most money every year! The folks at Insomnia (on Bloor) have been the top fundraising team all 3 years they’ve participated! Second, for my family (with now adult children), the race has become a new bonding experience as we get cheer on the success of our family through some of these goofy checkpoint activities.
Here are some of memorable checkpoints over the years:
Last year, one checkpoint was at a bartending school: we had to complete several pours and bartending maneuvers. My younger son, Zac, brought his Tom Cruise cocktail skills with a pour, a bottle flip and a catch on the back of his hand; my wife, Monika, did a pyramid pour of six glasses; and my oldest son, Kyle, and I each had to pour a can of Red Bull into a glass while the can was suctioned to the palm of our hand at a 90 degree angle! Sounds hard but we did really well!
Another checkpoint that was really fun was a checkpoint three years ago where we put on Kangaroo boots (see picture) and we did a ball between the legs relay, ran/bounced around a course, played hopscotch and then a did a 4 person jump rope.
I remember putting on the boots and I looked up as Zac was bouncing – he said, “Dad! These are boots awesome; check out how high I can jump!” He was right: with freckles, red hair, youthfulness and Kangaroo Boots, he can jump pretty well! We got through this checkpoint pretty fast; unfortunately, Monika and I were at little worse for the wear, with some pulls and tweaks in some underutilized muscles and body parts.
For the Golf lovers — in our third year of the event, each member of our team had to drive a golf cart through an obstacle course and the last (me!) had to do the course in reverse and parallel park the golf cart. After many years at the Boys and Girls Club and parallel parking downtown every day, parallel parking a golf cart with safety cones was no challenge: nailed it!
In the first race seven years ago, we struggled with one of the clues that was ultimately the Kayak Centre by Harborfront. We had just left one checkpoint, and on the way to another we thankfully saw Race for Kids checkpoint flags and went there first. It was a course set up with adult-sized tricycles! We struggled with listening to the instructions and it took us 3 times to complete the course and to do it properly. Apparently, we were supposed to only have one person on the bike at a time, oops (see photo)! Monika and I sported Canada colours for the race (Monika tempted fate by wearing a Canada Flag cape for the whole race), but the kids didn’t want to wreck their ‘look!’
To say the least, Race for Kids is an exciting event for our family every year!