In 2019 one of our wonderful staff members by the name of Victoria Schermel started a fundraiser for Journey Home and the Upstream Project which brought it over $8,000 for the program! The only catch was, this wasn’t your average fundraiser. Along with a group of 15 people from charities all over the world, they set off to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Before she set off on the journey of a lifetime, there was a lot of behind the scenes work that needed to be done…
Preparing for Kilimanjaro
Victorias fundraising journey started in the Summer of 2019 where she started to put together multiple fundraisers in an effort to bring in financial support for the Upstream project. From clothing drives in partnership with Value Village to Comedy events at Dakoda’s Sports Bar, her efforts were unmatched. In addition to her events that were hosted throughout Kelowna, Victoria also starting 3 crowd-funding platforms using Facebook, Gofundme, and Trellis. Last but certainly not least, Victoria was able to secure a donation from our friends at Kelowna Toyota for $2,500!
Victoria worked tirelessly at the gym 4-5 days a week training to physically prepare herself for the climb by hiking, attending 9 Round Fitness and doing various cardio exercises. She unfortunatley broke her ankle training which was a major setback but Victoria didn’t let it slow her down. She focused her energy on coodrinating conversations surrounding her fundraiser between Journey Home, A Way Home Kelowna, United Way, and Charity Challenge.
The Kilimanjaro Trip
The hike proved to be just as difficult as Victoria imagined. It took a total of 6.5 days to reach the summit and another 1.5 days to return back to the base.
“We woke up every morning at 5:30am and started to trek anywhere from 6-12 hours each day through 5 different climate zones. It poured rain everyday and I somehow managed to be frostbitten and sun burnt at the same time. On top of that we all experienced severe weather conditions and altitude sickness. After a few mental breakdowns and some pit stops along the way we reached the summit in the midst of a blizzard, but I MADE IT”
Victorias Thoughts and Feelings
” The process required me to take more than just baby steps outside of my comfort zone. It was going to require huge leaps and bounds. I faced many challenges along the way such as learning how to raise large sums of money, raising money for a cause that our community hadn’t heard of yet, raising money for a very controversial problem in our city, being publically judged, breaking my ankle, and learning how to acquire supporters. Through trial and error, patience, guidance, and support I was able to make it through and learn a tremendous amount in such a short time frame.”
“During my journey, I got to meet a ton of incredible people and spread awareness about an initiative that could change a lot of lives. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from people and businesses alike that truly believed in youth prevention work and what The Upstream Project was capable of. I am very proud of what I was able to accomplsih here and look forward to seeing what this can help accomplish within our community.”