Little Explorers needs Squamish's help | Squamish Chief

Little Explorers needs Squamish's help

The program has been introducing children to the outdoors for over 2.5 years

After Marie-Andrée Racine had her first child, she wanted to meet other moms and get into outdoor activities.

"I've always been an outdoorsy person and everything was so easy to me," said Racine. "I didn't realize how much for other people — they don't want to go hiking by themselves with their kids because they're scared of, like, wildlife or things like that, or they're scared to get lost on a trail. And the more I realized that, I was like, 'Oh, there's an issue there.'"

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This realization gave birth to Racine's organization, Little Explorers.

For over 2.5 years, it's been providing families with memorable experiences in nature.

Courtesy of Marie-Andrée Racine
Source: Courtesy of Marie-Andrée Racine

One highlight for Racine is a pre-COVID group camping trip that had 15 families set up tents in Alice Lake. People spent the day paddleboarding, playing games, and sharing food and telling stories by a bonfire.

But while Little Explorers has been offering much help for getting people in the outdoors, it's now the one that will be needing help.

The small business, which began its life as a non-profit, is in danger of closing due to the financial hardship posed by COVID-19.

In recent days, a GoFundMe initiative started by supports of the program popped online seeking to raise $5,000 by Oct. 31, which would allow the business to keep operating.

Racine said that the money will help cover operating costs like liability insurance, website fees and upcoming workshops with Indigenous craftspeople.

The fee for signing up with Little Explorers is low, she said, at about $150 for a year. That allows members to participate in all the events, including an outdoor exploration club, a bike club, nature and wildlife tours, and more.

She said she's grateful for all the people who have been stepping up to assist, as she would've never started a fundraiser for her own company.

"It's more passion for me, it's not a business," she said.

"It made me realize with all the messages I got from everyone how much it actually means to people and the Squamish community, and it's just really, really nice to hear."

Find the online campaign here.


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