Adult and Teen Challenge originated in Brooklyn over fifty years ago, but has since expanded to 118 countries. Canada has four divisions of the organization across the country, each supporting residential and non-residential programs in their communities.
Their efforts are simple: raise money to help those who are struggling. Help them find their way to sobriety.
“We put hope within reach through the community,” said Daniel Emond, Director of Development at Adult and Teen Challenge of Central Canada. “We also bring awareness and answers to people struggling in the community. I don’t know one family that isn’t affected by addiction.”
The programs go above and beyond to ensure high success rates.
“It’s one thing to give someone a sweater and pair of shoes and pray for them. It’s another to walk alongside them and help them change their life to live clean,” said Emond.
His ministry has grown to have four residential homes, as well as over 25 non-residential programs scattered throughout the communities. They are working on a fifth residential home to open in 2018.
Why Sled for Eternity?
Thirteen years ago, Daniel, a fellow organizer and a local pastor were discussing their struggles of running the organization through the winter months. Raising money and engaging the community becomes difficult each winter as donations drop after Christmas. The pastor also noticed a decline in church attendance during these months, but would spot snowmobiles riding through his parking lot on Sunday mornings.
They thought: Why doesn’t Teen Challenge reach out to the snowmobiling community? It made sense for Daniel.
“I grew up as a sled head, and I am a graduate of the Teen Challenge program,” he said. Other members of Adult and Teen Challenge had connections within the snowmobile clubs as well.
The season of 2007/2008 was the first Sled for Eternity, which started at Eastview Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“We went up to Beausejour for the ride. It turned out that the dealership owner in Beausejour had just lost their father to alcoholism, which put the last piece of the puzzle together for us,” said Emond. “The community has embraced it. It is a vital fundraiser for us.”
Sled for Eternity rides
With the help of the local snowmobiling communities and official sponsor, FXR, Adult and Teen Challenge is hosting four rides in Canada in 2018. There are over $50, 000 in prizes for raising the most money, checkpoint draws, and participation gifts.
“In my opinion, it’s a world class event,” said Emond. “The snowmobiling community understands the need, and they’ve become very supportive of Teen Challenge. They look forward to coming.”
Manitoba is hosting both the Beausejour and Swan River rides on January 27 and February 10, 2018, respectively. Each ride is typically about 300 kilometres, with the exact route determined closer to the event pending trail conditions. This route is family friendly and includes a hot lunch as one of the ride checkpoints. In Manitoba specifically, they try to organize a “Sled Head” route that extends another 100 kilometres for seasoned riders.
After a few successful years in Manitoba, Sled for Eternity expanded to Ontario and British Columbia. Kakabeka Falls will host the Ontario ride on February 17th, 2018.
“It’s just incredible how many people showed up in Thunder Bay the first year. About 250 sleds in a town of about 100 000 people,” said Emond.
Central Canada’s ministry also helped Vernon, British Columbia, launch their own ride, which brought about 50 riders the first year. The Vernon Snowmobile Association will host this year’s ride on February 24th at Silver Star Mountain. Their fundraising goal is $75,000.
Registration fees vary between rides. Visit Teen Challenge’s Sled for Eternity to find the complete details about the ride closest to you.