Swift Current’s third annual Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser marched through Swift Current this weekend to raise essential funds for the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative (SCCYI). 

The proceeds from this year’s event will go directly towards counselling and fundraising aspects of The Centre, such as the free counselling and mentoring services that they offer. 

Nathan Wiebe, the executive director for the SCCYI, explained that the community is an essential part of the work that takes place at the non-profit organization. 

“We want to bring people together, we want people to understand that it takes a community, it takes a village to raise a child, and for us, we take that really seriously. There's a quote that we live by here at The Centre as a team, ‘People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.’  

“We really take that seriously and want people to take that forward into their daily lives and hopefully try and create positive change in their neighbourhoods and their homes amongst their friend groups and onward from that. So, we really appreciate everybody that's taking the time to come here and fundraise for our organization.” 

This is the second year that the event has taken place in person, with 35 teams and 148 walkers registered for the event. 

Including families that turned out to support the event, Wiebe estimated that approximately 300 to 350 people attended the event, while 15 volunteers from the community lent a helping hand for the walk-a-thon. 

Wiebe added that since the first time the national event came to Swift Current in 2021, it has grown substantially. 

“We've kind of escalated the goals periodically as we've seen the hunger for the event and people really enjoyed it last year,” he elaborated. “So, we've done a little bit more work this year to make it a new thing than last year and it's been a lot of fun.” 

After a week of extreme cold, the sun shone brightly in the sky for Saturday's event and temperatures skyrocketed to approximately –10 degrees Celsius. 

Participants were able to choose between a 2-kilometre or a 5-kilometre expedition beginning at The Centre. 

As of now, the non-profit organization is sitting at 82 percent of its fundraising goal this year, bringing in $66,330 for The Centre. 

The final total will be complete in a couple of weeks, though Wiebe estimates the final amount to be close to $70,000. 

He also added that the event wouldn’t have been a success without the help of their sponsors. 

“These businesses that see us as something worthy of investing they're hard earned dollars in, and they even have volunteers here too, we just can't say thanks enough to all of our sponsors,” he concluded.