Partners for Youth confirms endurance athlete extraodinaire Ray Zahab
Some may remember a while back I initiated an on-line discussion on Facebook on potential guest speakers for a celebration dinner to mark Partners for Youth’s 20th anniversary. We had lots of excellent suggestions. Every name recommended was considered, and in the end I believe we have ended up with the best possible choice. In fact, I dare say we absolutely nailed it.
You may not have heard of Ray Zahab - yet, but read on, and when you learn his story I think you will agree he is the perfect fit for an organization that is all about instilling self-esteem in young people.
Here’s a guy who was a pack-a-day smoker and coach potato, and he decides one day that he wants to get a bit more out of life.
For some of us that might have meant going to the gym, maybe some jogging or biking. Ray was thinking a big larger.
So in November of 2006, Ray and two friends set out to cross the Sahara Desert on foot. This incredible journey from Senegal, Africa ended when they stepped into the Red Sea 111 days and 7500 kilometers later.
That trek was an incredible test of endurance and of pushing limits, but it was just the start. Other seemingly impossible walks followed. In 2009 he broke the world speed record for a walk to the South Pole, solely on foot and snowshoes, no skis. In 2010 he hiked across frozen Siberia, in 2011 across the driest desert on earth, in northern Chile, and just last summer, he ran over 2000 kilometers across the Gobi Desert.
But that’s only the half of it, and here’s where the fit with Partners for Youth comes in. Ray says walking the Sahara began for him a lifelong journey of discovery, where he learned that the biggest barriers to success are the ones we put upon ourselves. He says he learned that by breaking these barriers down, we are all capable of truly extraordinary things. That is a message he now brings to young people across his native Canada (did I mention he’s Canadian?) and around the world.
His organization, i2P (Impossible to Possible), is dedicated to inspiring young people to reach beyond their perceived limits. He achieves this through youth camps, speaking seminars, and by involving them in his journeys in many ways, from accompanying him to working on logistics and communications.
Our plan is to bus 300 youth who are enrolled in Partner’s programs from various New Brunswick schools to Fredericton for sessions with Ray during the day on June 12th, and then have him speak at our celebration dinner that evening.
The icing on the cake is that he is also an exceptional speaker, engaging, funny, and, as you might expect, with some incredible and inspirational stories. If you don’t want to wait, or you want to get a taste of what the evening will be like, we have uploaded one of his TED Talks on our Partners website.
We see this as an excellent opportunity to educate people on our organization, and also to put on a first class dinner at the Fredericton Convention Centre as a fundraiser.
As you might expect, we’ll looking for sponsors and for people to purchase tickets and tables. It’s a wonderful cause and it will be a great evening you won’t soon forget. For Ray’s presentation of course, but also for the meal, which Executive Chef Greg Godfrey will be creating with food produced from Partners for Youth’s agriculture partner, Sunrise Farm. And, it will be a good opportunity to network.
It will be a great night, but we need you to help make it a success.
So here’s my pitch. If you are a business, union or any other organization, considering becoming a sponsor and be part of this. Or look at reserving a table for clients or employees. If you are not a business but are community minded, why not put together a group of eight people and claim a table. Or we can help match you up.
You can get more information and buy tickets at our Partner’s website.
Disclaimer – We at BissettMatheson are pleased to be working with Partners for Youth to help promote this event.
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