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Getting outside for a good cause: Social media is bringing people together for CPAWS

A few years ago I found myself giving advice to friends (and a few random strangers in stores and the mall) about things to do and places to go, based on the stuff Alex, Emma, Hope the Wonder Dog and I did to entertain ourselves.  So, I decided to start this blog to share my family's experiences in hopes that other families would be inspired to get outside and do stuff, too.  

It seems to be working. At least, that's what a few people have told me.

Deep down I also hoped that my blog would play a small advocacy role in encouraging safe, healthy outdoor recreation for families. Because if other families fell in love with the places that my family loved, more people would be invested in protecting those places.

What I didn't expect, is that blogging would help me become part of an amazing community of outdoor enthusiasts who also spend time on the Internet, sharing experiences, tips and more than a few laughs.  It is a community that lives all over Canada and the US, varies in age and experience, and is bound by the common interest of "the outdoors". We're campers and hikers and paddlers.  We are photographers, writers, artists. We are passionate about protecting our provincial parks and conservation areas, our trails and rivers and our wild spaces.

Most of us haven't met each other in person. But one day, the idea of getting together for a grown-up version of camp was thrown around on twitter by a few folks who are part of the regular #MyWildCanada twitter chat. (Every Wednesday at 2 pm EST. You should check it out.) And things got crazy a little crazy.  The next thing I knew, campsites were being booked! People were getting excited! Plans were being made!  And best of all, Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) got into the act and told us about their Big Wild Challenge!

YES!  An event with more purpose than a bunch of social media/outdoor hounds getting together was born. And now, the Sometimes Eventful family, along with a whole bunch of other passionate outdoors enthusiasts are going to camp for a cause.  Sure, it will be a weekend of paddling and hiking and camping and getting to know social media friends in real life.  But it is also a chance to raise money for The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) 

CPAWS is a national charity that works collaboratively with governments, local communities, industry and indigenous peoples to protect Canada's amazing natural places and ensure that our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. (Source: MEC Big Wild Challenge website)

From September 26 - 29 we're going to camp at Canisbay Lake in Algonquin Park.  It's the 
first-ever #MyWildCanada Twitter camp for CPAWS! 
Canisbay Lake in late September, Algonquin Provincial Park

And guess what? YOU are invited to join us.  If you can book a campsite or even just come for a day we'd love to see other outdoor enthusiasts at Algonquin Park and help raise awareness and funds for CPAWS.

If meeting a bunch of people you may or may not have been following on social media isn't exciting enough, and raising money for CPAWS isn't enough, we are also entertaining a very special guest on Saturday, Sept. 17.  Algonquin's very own resident ghost, @ttlastspring will be joining us for a campfire.  YES. REALLY!  I can barely keep contain my excitement for this event!

If grabbing your gear and joining us for the #MyWildCanada camp out isn't possible, you can still be a part of this awesome event by making a donation to CPAWS!  We're offering a number of incentives for donations including:

$75 - 2 Months free advertising on all of our websites
$100 - 1 Guest Blogger write up for you/Your product(s) on one of our blogs
$200 - A weekend canoe trip with one of us! 
$500 - 3 Guest Blogger write ups on our sites. 
Ok. I know you are as excited about this event as I am. So here's where you go to donate: MEC Big Wild Challenge Donation Page  The page is set up under the name of one of the community participants - all you need to do is click on the Support My Challenge button and follow the instructions from there.

Another way you can contribute is by making a purchase through one of the ads over there on the right-hand side of my page.  I will donate 50 per cent of any sales made from my affiliate ads between NOW and September 22!

I hope to see you at camp in September and thanks for supporting CPAWS through the Big Wild Challenge!

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