Teenager Seth Jex organized his first event of any kind last Saturday, as 26 people gathered to take part in a poker run on the perimeter trail around Smithers. The crowd ranged from four years old to 55, meeting his goal of getting people of all ages into the outdoors.
Jex travelled to Squamish earlier this year to meet with 40 other youth for a week-long summit at the Vancouver Outdoor School, as part of the Get Outside B.C. program.
“They encouraged us to come back to our communities and put on an event,” he said.
The experience left a lasting impression on Jex, even after the summit participants went their separate ways back to their homes throughout B.C.
“I went down and saw 40 other youths as ambitious and motivated as I was about our environment. We really pushed each other as a group,” he said.
When he returned to Smithers, he started trying to figure out an event he could put on in his hometown. His mom’s idea for a poker run, where participants gather individual cards at checkpoints along a trail, seemed the best bet for a local event. When he approached businesses in the community with the idea, he was amazed by the response.
“They were just phenomenal with their support,” he said.
Winners at the event included first place Madison Oud, with a full house of kings and aces; second place Dave Turko, with a full house of twos and sixes; and third place Danielle Irvine with a straight. The youngest participant was four-year-old Sean Press, and Irene Williams was given the Most Spirited award.
Jex will return south for another summit with the group, all of whom will have organized their own events around the province. They’ll discuss how well all the various ideas worked, and figure out ways to improve for future events. Although the focus is to build on the confidence gained from their initial events, he said another benefit to the Get Outside B.C. program is the way the group is building relationships while working on common goals.
“They’re lifetime connections, those contacts that we have with each other,” he said.