For the last few years, youth have been gathering every spring at Nathan Phillips Square - or an equally bustling and public area in downtown Toronto - to support the Trek for Teens Foundation's annual event of Trek for Teens Day. This year, on May 23, 2015, things were no different: More than twenty teams registered for the day's events and over $1500 revenue was raised in support of homeless youth. All proceeds, as with every Trek for Teens event, go to Covenant House Toronto, Horizons for Youth, and Youth Without Shelter. One of the main attractions of the day and, indeed, perhaps the most celebrated and well-known of Trek for Teens Day's festivities, is the "Amazing-Race" throughout Toronto. The registered teams of youth, after a brief warm-up and introductory session by the Nathan Phillips Square stage, rushed off to their first checkpoint challenge as dictated by their newly doled out passports. After several hours of hard work and determined completion of the challenges, the "Trek BITS" were the first squad to return to the square with their passport in order. That meant that they were the winning team for the Trek for Teens Day Race, but they wouldn't be announced until a few hours later during the closing ceremonies. During the interlude between the opening of the race and the closing ceremonies, Virgin Radio set up a booth and broadcast their feed, tented representatives from Horizons for Youth and Youth Without Shelter spoke to interested passerby about their respective organizations, and a fair section was established to engage younger pedestrians and their families in carnival-type activities. Throughout the day and extending into the evening during the concert, Trek for Teens members diligently sold snacks, drinks, and Trek for Teens toques, shirts, and other memorabilia.
Once the remaining teams had returned to the square and the closing ceremonies had begun, the winning team was announced the congratulated. Certain individuals, including the representatives from Virgin Radio, Horizons for Youth, and Youth Without Shelter, dashed up onstage to say a few words about themselves and their organizations. Trek for Teens would like to thank all three groups for their meaningful attendance and contributions to the day. After a final word of conclusion, the first half of the day was completed and the aforementioned concert began! The lineup of the evening concert was as follows:
Each group performed with skill, energy, and professionalism. During a specific interlude of the concert, the MC's announced the results of the Trek for Teens Day Social Media Challenge. Participants were asked to snap a photo or video of something they found humourous, memorable, or meaningful throughout the day. In addition, they were challenged to document their adventures and upload the footage to the Trek for Teens Facebook or Twitter accounts. Mara Krizia Anne @maralumanta and the band Eternal Red were two of the winners!
As the evening concluded and the final band's music evaporated into the evening air, Trek for Teens took the stage one last time to thank the participants, volunteers, and audience members who made the evening possible. In addition to those who have already been thanked, Trek for Teens would like to acknowledge Home Depot for the donation of stage-sign materials, Nathan Phillips Square for the venue, Entripy Custom Clothing for their consistently fine toques and shirts, The Phuse for their financial support of many online Trek for Teens presences, and the University of Toronto Students' Union and the St. Michael's College Students' Union for their funding.
Trek for Teens would also like to thank its dedicated and hardworking photographers and videographers for the day. Neil Hansen and Taylor Zeller-Newman of Crimson Fish, Kevin Badali of Dragon Peak Productions, and Daniel Dorta all volunteered their time to document the day's festivities; thank you to each of them.
Finally, Trek for Teens would like to thank its participants and volunteers, without whom the Race and the remainder of the event would not have been so smooth and successful. Thank you to all who attended and helped the cause in some capacity.
Stayed tuned for photos and videos from the day.