This post has been over two years in the making, and I’m so excited to share with you an AMAZING experience that I recently had.
Since 2005 individuals across Canada have been raising money to send children to Camp Easter Seals, which is a fully accessible camp with fourteen locations across Canada. Anyone who reaches their fundraising goal ($1000 for Saskatoon) gets the chance to participate in the annual Drop Zone event.
I started fundraising in 2016 but was unable to reach my goal in time to participate. Thankfully, they allowed me to carry over that amount to this year, and I was able to reach my goal of $1000.
In past years, Saskatoon’s event was held locally, but this year they decided to switch things up. The twist this year was Saskatoon versus Regina: The Challenge. The cities have a bit of a natural rivalry to begin with, so it only made sense to challenge us to see who is REALLY the best. The idea was to see who could fundraise the most and who had the best costumes. I’m not sure which city “won”, but I’d say anyone who was brave enough to rappel should consider themselves a winner!
For Saskatoon rappellers, the day started off at the Sask Abilities office with a breakfast, followed by a bus ride to Regina. Ian and I had a concert back in Saskatoon that evening, so we drove ourselves out the day before. If I get the opportunity to participate in this event again, I will definitely take advantage of the bus ride and the fun of being with people from my own city. Though by driving out a day early, we did get to enjoy a pretty amazing IMAX film about sharks, so I am not complaining!
The event was happening at Hill Tower II, a 20 story building that stands 280 feet tall. All participants are considered to be “superheroes” and they encourage costumes. I couldn’t think of a superhero that I wanted to go as, but I did think of a hero, Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. The costume was fairly easy to put together, plus it was comfortable enough for this activity!
Most Saskatoon rappellers were scheduled between 1pm-4pm, but I was set for 10 am so that we could hit the road back early enough. I got there an hour early to sign some waivers, and collect my t-shirt and swag bag.
Half an hour before my scheduled time it was time to get geared up. You get harnessed and get a helmet and gloves to wear. They make sure that everything is snug and that you’re all ready. Once you are geared up you do a practice rappel. They also held a mandatory practice in each city the week prior. They want to make sure that every participant knows what they are doing and that they are comfortable doing it.
After my practice run, it was time to get to the top of the building! They are extremely organized and safety-conscious throughout the entire event. Two rappellers go at a time, and I got to the roof in time to see the people before me go off. It was nice to see others go through the motions so that I knew a bit of what to expect!
Soon enough, it was go time! Once again, they double check your harness and all the straps. They make sure things are extra tight, and that you are entirely secured. If you ask me, you can’t take too many steps to ensure safety for an activity like this!
I started off a bit slower because you have to help feed the rope through a bit. It got easier and faster the closer to the ground you got. There isn’t a whole lot I can say about this experience, other than it was AMAZING. To be that high up in the air and walk down a mirrored glass building that is 280 feet tall is an indescribable feeling.
It was a windy day, so there were a few times that I could feel gusts pushing me to the side slightly. I would take a moment to pause and steady my footing before continuing down. I’m not sure how long it took in total, but it definitely didn’t feel long enough!
They had some baking from Cobs Bread and water and juice available for all rappellers. They also had Boston Pizza bring food in for lunch. Along with these treats, there was also Regina’s weekly farmers market right beside where The Drop Zone was being held with baking, fruits & veggies and food trucks. There were a ton of people around to spectate, including many in costume, and I can only imagine that it got even busier later in the day!
The wind did actually end up causing some issues later in the day. Their safety professionals decided that it was just too gusty and they ended up stopping for the day. Anyone who wasn’t able to participate was given the option of going the next day or enjoying a free rappel next year.
This whole day was amazing. I am so glad that I was able to reach my fundraising goal, and I really hope that I am able to participate again in the future. Next time I won’t plan anything for the same day so that I’m able to enjoy the day in its entirety! Though I was grateful to have been able to do my rappel before the wind got too crazy!
Thank you once again to all of my friends and family who donated money towards this fundraiser. You helped send a child to camp, and I bet that kid is going to have as amazing of an experience as I did!