Fundraising events will bring much-needed revenue to youth camp

Two upcoming fundraisers will help support Spark! Youth Camp, a theatre camp taking place at Alberta Avenue Community Centre this summer. Fees are kept low through donations, and the camp offers a financial assistance program to make the program accessible.

On Sunday, May 12, celebrate Mother’s Day with the “It Takes a Village Mother’s Day Brunch”.

Alberta Avenue Community League organizes Spark! Youth Camp each year. Virginia Potkins, a community resident and owner of Special Events by Gina Miller, is coordinating the silent auction at their movie night fundraiser on May 19.

Two Spark! fundraisers are coming up in May. | Mat Simpson Photography

“I heard they had a little bit of a shortfall, and thought, ‘Why don’t I do [a fundraising event]?’ ”

Her company is organizing the brunch. She’s excited by the league’s goal goal of making the camp accessible regardless of income level by offering low fees and a financial assistance program.

She says, “I’d love to see 75 per cent of these kids attending.”

She hopes this event will raise at least $3,000 for some of this year’s expenses and as a jumpstart for next year’s camp.

At Spark! Youth Camp, kids ages 7-14 learn about each other and community through theatre and the arts. Potkins says, “It opens kids’ eyes for imagination and creativity.” Kids attending are culturally and socioeconomically diverse. “You get to meet kids who have dreams and might be in a similar situation. Kids can realize, ‘I’m not the only one who lives like this.’ ”

This year’s brunch proudly features Edmonton singer/songwriter Martin Kerr.

Fundraisers help keep the camp at an accessible price. | Mat Simpson Photography

The event is at London Villas Hub. Brunch is at 10:30 am, with a formal program at 11:15 am. “It will be a great buffet,” says Potkins.

Purchase tickets now on Eventbrite under “It Takes A Village Mother’s Day Brunch”. Tickets for adults are $60, while tickets for children ages 4-10 are $45. Children under 4 years old attend for free.

Can’t attend? Visit the Eventbrite page to donate or to gift tickets.

Also coming up is Spark! Screening Under the Stars, the camp’s biggest fundraiser of the year on Sunday, May 19 at 8:30 pm. The feature is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, with a concession and silent auction. Beer and wine are also available (served by the venue).

Chris Dela Cruz, co-founder of Spark! and head technical theatre instructor, says, “I’m so excited to present our fourth annual Spark! outdoor movie at La Cité Francophone. This year people will sit under the stars for a screening of E.T. on La Cité’s beautiful outdoor patio. It doesn’t get much better than watching this classic outside with popcorn in one hand and beer sold by Café Bicyclette in the other. We offer an incredible camp to these students at an accessible price and this fundraiser is so important to continue to do so.”

Alita Rickards, the camp’s fundraiser and administrator, says it’s a great night out and a wonderful way to raise money. The suggested donation is $10.

“People lay sleeping bags, mats, blankets, and pillows on the grassy hill surrounding the café and recline with family and friends to watch the movie. We always call it ‘Under the Stars’, but this year it’s funny because it’s E.T., so it’s really out of this world!” says Rickards.


It Takes A Village Mother’s Day Brunch

May 12, 10:30 am

London Villas Hub (9620 109 Ave)

Under the Stars, screening of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

May 19, 8:30 pm

Café Bicyclette (8627 91 St)

Featured Image: Watch a classic movie under the stars on May 19. | Alita Rickards