Join us on Awesome Day in Canada as we support the community of Mission!

Awesome Day in Canada

Friends of Awesome, due to the recent flooding in the Calgary area, Awesome Foundation – Calgary will be postponing our June Pitch Night on 06/27 to focus our efforts on helping Calgarians to rebuild. 

For Awesome Day in Canada, we’ll be based in the SW community of Mission and will be supporting residents there in two ways:

First, we’ll be complementing the Volunteer Recruitment tent set up in the parking lot of the Mission Safeway location with our very own Relaxation Tent. It’s going to be a hot day tomorrow, so we’ll be providing a shaded place where people can rest up after cleaning up various buildings and where people can sit and enjoy the free food that a variety of vendors around Mission are providing to volunteers, first responders and flood victims, rather than having to sit on the sidewalk. We’ll also have a cell phone charging station set up where people who need a little more juice for their phones can plug in, which is important as much of the neighbourhood is still without power. We may have other amenities as well. Stay tuned!

Second, as Mission is still in desperate need of volunteers, we’ll be supporting their recruitment efforts by helping to promote the need throughout the day and by recruiting people for Task Force Awesome who will be a crack team of Awesome Volunteers who’ll help people in need to clean up and rebuild their homes. Grab a limited edition Awesome Calgary button and get out there and show your civic pride.

Everyone’s invited, so please, if you’re a supporter of our normal Awesome Calgary events, please come join us any time on 06/27 as we help support the residents of Mission during this difficult time. Bring your friends!

  • What: Join Task Force Awesome as Awesome Calgary supports the community of Mission
  • Where: Parking lot of the Mission Safeway (524 Elbow Drive SW)
  • When: Thursday, June 27, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • RSVP: Facebook
  • Hashtag: #AWEyyc


My experiences working at a Reception Centre during the first 24 hours

Receiving a briefing from CEMA at the Village Square Leisure Centre Reception Centre
Receiving a briefing from CEMA at the Village Square Leisure Centre Reception Centre

Last Thursday evening, after hearing about all the craziness happening with the river, I did my best to secure equipment at my basement office downtown, moving things to higher ground within the building and helping others to do so as well.

Being a transit user, I wanted to get out of the downtown core as quickly as I could because I didn’t want to get stranded.

I got home at around 8:30 p.m. and was looking forward to bunkering down and waiting out the storm, not knowing what to expect from it at that point.

At about 10 p.m. just as I was getting ready for bed, I received an email from Stampede Volunteer Services asking for 120 volunteers to help work at the various Reception Centres around town in eight hour shifts for the next 72 hours. The first shift was slated to be from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Not having a car and because some of the locations were remote from where I was located, I replied by saying that I’d take any shifts that were available starting the next day. I figured I’d have enough time to plan my route to wherever I would be sent, and an opportunity to rest up for what was looking to be a long day of volunteering.

Then 20 minutes later, I received an email from my committee chair with an urgent request for volunteers at the Reception Centre located at Centre Street Church, which was in the same quadrant as myself (though just barely).

Now fully appreciating the urgent nature of the emergency, I threw on whatever clothes I could find, hopped on my bike and peddled my way there. I had never been to the Centre Street Church before, and so after a couple of wrong turns, I arrived at around 11:45 p.m.

Bonnie trains us in processing evacuees at the Centre Street Church Reception Centre
Bonnie trains us in processing evacuees at the Centre Street Church Reception Centre

I was quickly introduced to Bonnie, who was responsible for training new volunteers on behalf of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). Our job was to process evacuees who were checking into the Centre.

The purpose was two-fold. First, register them so that if loved ones were searching for them later on, the city and the Red Cross would know where they were and could tell them. Second was to find accommodations for those who were displaced and had nowhere else to go.

The view at 2 a.m. during Night One at the Centre Street Reception Centre
The view at 2 a.m. during Night One at the Centre Street Reception Centre

As the night went on, I learned many things. Many of the city workers who were manning the Reception Centre had already been pulling 8-12 hour shifts there, so the Stampede volunteers were welcome relief. The City folks who arrived early to prepare the venue would be able to go home, take a shower and get some rest before they had to come back and do it all again.

I also learned that our city and our government take care of its citizens. Many people had left their homes with little notice and only with what they could carry. Accomodations were found for anyone who needed somewhere to stay for the duration of the evacuation. They were fed and given vouchers to ensure that they wouldn’t go hungry while the city was under a State of Emergency.

We helped Calgarians of all sorts that night. Those who were well off and those who were not, we didn’t turn away a single soul. We even helped a family of six who were visiting from Quebec and were scheduled to stay at a hotel in an evacuation zone. They had no family here and had nowhere else to go, but we found them a place to stay and ensured that they were taken care of.

The view at 5 a.m. during Night One at the Centre Street Reception Centre
The view at 5 a.m. during Night One at the Centre Street Reception Centre

My shift was supposed to end at 6 a.m. but we were allowed to leave an hour early as we had managed to process everyone who came in that night.

When I arrived home, I found that I couldn’t sleep so I emailed Stampede Volunteer Services asking if any other shifts were available. I ended up assigned at the Village Square Leisure Centre Reception Centre for 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. that same day. I made myself lunch and peddled my way there to do it all over again.

When I emailed again the next day asking for any other shifts, I was told that they were all full, which isn’t surprising considering this is Calgary. So I’ve been spending the last few days wandering around the Inglewood and Mission areas helping people clean out their homes and rebuild. I figure it’s the least I can do since my home is completely safe.

As I await the call to help out on Park to deliver Stampede 101, I can’t help but feel proud that I live in the city that I do.

It was working the graveyard shift that first night and speaking with a wide variety of people there where I gained a great appreciation for the city I live in and the citizens who live in it.

We take care of our own, we take care of the people who visit our great city, and Western Hospitality isn’t just a buzzword or exclusive to those in the Stampede family.

No, Western Hospitality is at the core and fibre of our beings as Calgarians.

Keep Calm & Stay Awesome! Or: How you can help with the #yycflood efforts

Looks like the folks over at Awful Calgary have declared war on Mother Nature due to the recent flood.

While it PAINS us to agree with them on anything, no one can deny the fact that recent events in our area aren’t just Awful, they’re absolutely Horrible.

Many people from within Calgary and outside of town are wondering how they can help. It’s a good question, and in fact, there are many ways!

For those of you out of town or wishing to donate monetary funds, you can do so through the Canadian Red Cross’ special Alberta Floods Fund here:

They accept PayPal too, so you can donate online through credit cards, PayPal balance or even through your bank account if you have that set up. You can also use prepaid credit cards or gift cards that you can purchase from many stores. They work fantastic, although some prepaid gift cards require you to register a valid address first before they can be used for online purchases.

If you’d like a bit more control and granularity over where your dollars go, our friend Gena Rotstein over at has set up a special page where you can choose what organizations receive your donation. It’s especially handy because some of those organizations aren’t equipped to accept online donations through their websites at this time.

Note that Place2Give applies a credit card processing fee of 3.9% to all transactions, which will be added to your donation total.

Keep an eye on Volunteer Calgary’s blog for organizations looking for items to be donated:

It’s being constantly updated as new requests for items from various organizations come in.

If you’re interested in helping defy the odds to pull off The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth in time and on schedule for the citizens of Calgary and the rest of the world, keep an eye on the Calgary Stampede’s special web page here for updates and for when a general request for assistance from the community goes out:

If you’ve got specialized equipment or skills that you’d like to donate to help with the recovery efforts, you can contact the City directly by sending an email to [email protected]. They’re starting to reach out to people for that particular need, but only through that email address.

If you’re looking for opportunities to help clean up or restore our city, keep an eye on the Calgary Clean Up Facebook page organized by one of our friends (as well as former and Founding Awesome Calgary Trustee) Brian Singh, or register yourselves as a volunteer at YYC Helps and you’ll be the first to know when opportunities arise or when the general call for help goes out. They’ll be coordinating with the City to ensure that the grassroots community recovery initiatives complement the official overall City efforts as well.

You can also register as a volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse, which is useful if you’d like to help with cleanup efforts outside of the city of Calgary:

Or you can now register yourselves directly with the City as a volunteer!

The City of Calgary has set up a Volunteer Centre to bring able hands and recovery needs together.

Simply register your availability. Currently, they are not looking for specific skill sets (i.e. plumbers, electricians, etc). They are in need of generalists.

Volunteers can register as individuals or groups. To register, send an email with the following information to [email protected]:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Availability (For example, if you’re available only between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on any day but Tuesday, include that information in your email. But please, keep it simple!)

Volunteers can also register by calling any of the following numbers:

  • 587-998-7817
  • 587-998-7835
  • 587-998-7837
  • 587-998-7832

That’s it for now. Keep an eye on The City of Calgary Twitter account at @cityofcalgary and the Calgary City News Blog for all the latest updates.

In the meantime, Stay Safe, Keep Calm and Stay Awesome! We’ll get through this together.

Updated venue information for 06/27 (a.k.a. Awesome Day in Canada!)

A reminder that this month’s $1,000 Thursday falls on 06/27, otherwise known as Awesome Day in Canada! Not only are we partnering with the Calgary Public Library for this one, but also with our friends over at Calgary Is Awesome! Why? Because we’re all equally awesome! That’s why.

In fact, we’ll be performing Random Acts of Awesome from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Stephen Avenue Walk downtown to celebrate. Come grab your choice of a free hug, a limited edition Awesome Day in Canada themed button, or an ultra limited-edition customized Awesome Calgary Fortune Cookie that highlights one of our previously funded projects. Plus, have your picture taken with our virtual Chalkboard of Awesome that will be included in a national (and possibly global!) photo montage later on!

  • What:  Random Acts of Awesome with Awesome Calgary!
  • Where:  Stephen Avenue Walk (8 Avenue SW between 1 Street SE and 4 Street SW)
  • When:  Thursday, June 27, 2013 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We’ll be capping off our Awesome Day in Canada festivities with our traditional Awesome Calgary $1,000 Thursday Pitch Event at 6 p.m.

Note that this month’s $1,000 Thursday venue is the Louise Riley Library Program Centre, which is in a separate building from the library itself. Refer to the map below:

We’ll have signs outside directing people to the proper building, but if in doubt, look for the building with this picture of Mona on it; you can’t miss her!

Hope to see you out on 06/27, either downtown in the afternoon or at the Louise Riley Library in the evening!

They say you need a montage…

With Awesome Day in Canada coming up in a few short weeks, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some of the Awesome Ideas that have come through our doors over the last couple of years.

So what better way is there to do that than with a music video? Enjoy and please join us on 06/27 at the Louise Public Library for our $1,000 Thursday – Awesome Day in Canada Edition, presented in partnership with our friends at the Calgary Public Library!

Also, our submission deadline for June is coming up fast. If you’d like to submit an Awesome Idea to us for consideration, fill out this handy-dandy web form by Monday, June 10, 2013 at 11:59 p.m.!

And if you’d like to join us for our 06/27 festivities as a Guest Trustee, we still have a few spots open for that as well! If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at being a Trustee of Awesome here at Awesome Calgary without the long-term commitment, then sign up to be an AF-Calgary Guest Trustee!

Guest Trustees get all the voting privileges as a full-time Trustee (including helping to narrow down the monthly short lists the week prior to the event) and get the best job of all: Awarding the winning project with $1,000 to help make their idea a reality! If that sounds interesting to you AND you’d like to be one of our Guest Trustees for Awesome Day in Canada, fill out this super-simple web form by June 10 as well and one of our Ninjas of Awesome will get back to you.

Save the Date: 06/27 is Awesome Day in Canada!

In the last few months, we’ve celebrated some big milestones here at Awesome Calgary. Our Second Anniversary event in April and our 25th $1,000 micro-grant in May. How can we possibly top that?

Well, us and many of our Canadian AF brethren have declared Thursday, June 27 as Awesome Day in Canada! Many Canadian Awesome Foundation chapters will be doing something special in their city on that day to help celebrate, whether it’s holding an Awesome Hours Meet & Greet, performing flash mobs or give aways, or hosting a Pitch Event or grant recipient ceremony.

Here in Calgary, we’ll be teaming up again with our friends at the Calgary Public Library to host our June $1,000 Thursday event, this time at the Louise Riley Library in the NW. Our Pitch Event will cap off Calgary’s Awesome Day in Canada festivities, and you’re invited!

Free pizza and pop will be provided courtesy of the Calgary Public Library to help celebrate, so come hungry!

We’ll also be doing things throughout the day and during the lead up to the event online and in the city in honour of Awesome Day in Canada, so keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds as we’re ready to announce what those are.

For now, please join us on 06/27 at the Louise Riley Library as we’ll award another $1,000 no-strings-attached micro-grant to help make an Awesome Idea in the city become a reality.

We hope to see you then!