Ingersoll Scouting leader hiking toward a dream
Ingersoll resident and Ingersoll Scouting leader Dave Wright holds a map of the Bruce Trail that he will hike all 890 kilometres of between May 14 and June 14 to realize a long-held dream. He has turned the hike into a fundraiser for Scouting Canada's No One Left Behind Fund, which provides funding to help children in need get the Scouting experience. JOHN TAPLEY/INGERSOLL TIMES
Between May 14 and June 14 Dave Wright will realize his dream of hiking all 890 kilometres of the Bruce Trail, and he'll also be helping others along the way.
Besides crossing an item off his bucket list, the Ingersoll resident and leader with Ingersoll Scouting has turned his journey into a fundraiser so children in need can get the Scouting experience.
“I wanted it to be bigger. I wanted it to be more than just a personal achievement,” said Wright who will celebrate his 40th birthday on the day he completes his hike in Tobermory. “I wanted to put something behind it to give back.”
Calling his fundraiser Footprints 4 Futures, Wright is asking people to donate to Scouts Canada's No One Left Behind Fund, which provides financial assistance to parents who need help covering their children's Scouting registration costs, camping expenses or equipment.
Having been in Beavers, Cubs and Scouting programs when he was a child, Wright said it has had a lasting impact on his life, and he wants to help others have the experience.
“It was the first time I found something I was really good at,” said Wright who works at CAMI Automotive. “There's so many skills I learned that I've carried with me my whole life.”
Six years ago while on his way to work, he spotted a sign advertising registration for Ingersoll Scouting.
“It immediately sparked some of the memories and good times from when I was a kid,” Wright said.
Registering his son for the program, he noticed there was a space on the back of the form to sign up as a parent volunteer.
Wright said when he was in Scouting as a child, his leader was his idol and that was one of the things that prompted him to give something back to the program.
“I always wanted to be a leader and this was my opportunity and I jumped in with both feet.”
He said he enjoys being a Scouting leader because he loves working with kids and “finding each one's interests and expanding on that, opening them up to new things.”
Passionate about Scouting, Wright said he believes in the importance of the No One Left Behind Fund.
“It all started for me when I was a kid and I want to make sure everyone has that same opportunity.”
Wright said there are four children in Ingersoll Scouting who have benefited from No One Left Behind and “they're four kids that probably wouldn't be in the program if they didn't have that assistance.”
Discovering his love of hiking when he was a 12-year-old Scout hiking the Bruce Trail for a day, Wright said the Bruce Trail remains one of his favourite places.
“It's premier hiking,” said Wright who spent the past four years planning to hike the entire length of the trail – a distance equivalent to walking from Windsor to Montreal. “It's as good hiking as you're going to find anywhere, and it's right in our backyard.”
He said, for him, hiking is “almost spiritual.”
“It replenishes me. It gives me an opportunity to clear my head. It's just the most invigorating thing I've ever found. It's the opportunity to think and the opportunity not to think all at the same time.”
Wright will set out from Queenston Heights Park in the Niagara Region at 8 a.m. on May 14.
Covering between 28 and 32 kilometres per day, he will carry everything he needs, including camping gear, food and water - a load that will tip the scales at 45 pounds.
Wright said he plans to practice a leave no trace policy on his hike – packing out everything he packs in.
“My expectation is I'll be packing out more than I pack in,” he said. “I've been on the trail before and there's always garbage laying around.”
He said just planning the hike provided educational opportunities for the children in the local Scouting program, bringing up group discussions about what he would need for the hike and how to do it safely.
Wright will be posting a daily Internet blog with photographs detailing his hike and video conferencing with local Cubs and Scouts during their weekly meetings.
Members of the Ingersoll Scout group will also join Wright for one leg of his journey and other Scout groups have been invited to hike with him when he passes near their communities.
Wright said the Bruce Trail varies from flat with crushed gravel to steep inclines and marches.
“You get everything you could possibly want, every different type of terrain.”
Stopping to camp along the trail at night, Wright said the Bruce Trail doesn't have many designated camp sites.
“I'm going to end up doing a fair bit of roadside camping,” he said.
A dedicated team of family and friends will be resupply Wright with food and other necessities every three to six days.
He anticipates he'll have access to potable water at various stops along the way, but will also carry water purification equipment and supplies.
Going to the gym every morning is one of the ways Wright has been preparing for his 32 day hike.
“I kind of consider my whole life – my Scouting life – has been training for this,” he said.
Wright said he is paying all his own expenses for the hike because he was planning to do it for personal reasons anyway, and because he wants to ensure every penny donated goes to the charity.
While he doesn't have a particular goal in mind for the fundraiser, Wright said, “anything I manage to raise is more than they had before.”
He said his bigger goal is getting the word out about the charity.
Planning, promoting and administration isn't his forte, Wright said, explaining that he is grateful for the help he has received with that from family and friends over the past four years.
“I get to do the easy part,” he said. “All I have to do is walk.”
Donations to No One Left Behind can be made through Wright's web site at: footprints4futures.ca
More information is also available by contacting Blanche Talbot at 1-888-855-3336 ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wright's daily blog can be accessed at: https://www.footprints4futures.ca/journal/