Letters from Santas: August 2016

Do you know what keeps Santas Anonymous busy throughout the year? Follow our “Letters from Santas” series to learn more about the people at the heart of Santas Anonymous, and why we love what we do.

August’s guest writer

Suzanne_ColeSo far, Letters from Santas have been written by our executive director, a board member, a volunteer, and a bear wrangler. This time around, we’ll hear from a member of our extended family: Suzanne Cole, the Executive Director of the Burnside Gorge Community Association (BGCA).

The BGCA provides a continuum of high-quality social and recreational programs and services that strengthen and support the lives of children, youth, and families throughout the Capital Regional District.

In addition to offering a wide variety of programs and services, the BGCA organizes special events such as the Selkirk Waterfront Festival, Gorge Waterway Cleanup, Halloween Monster Mash, Santa’s Pancake Breakfast, and the Community Christmas Dinner.

We’re grateful to have Suzanne share her perspective as an important partner of CFAX Santas Anonymous.

For many years, Burnside Gorge has offered our very popular Santa’s Pancake Breakfast event, where parents and children of all ages can join us for breakfast, live entertainment, arts and crafts and, of course, a visit with Santa Claus! Every child leaves with a present from Santa (and the biggest grins on their faces), while parents receive pictures of their children with Santa.

All of this happens for a very low cost to families, and it’s all made possible by sponsorship from CFAX Santas Anonymous.

A few years after we started the Pancake Breakfast, we applied for a special grant to support our Camp Survivor program, a summer camp with activities such as motocross, kayaking, paintball, and trips to remote parts of Vancouver Island. And once again, Santas Anonymous stepped up to provide opportunities for children and youth in our community. Thanks to the special-grant funding, we offer 27 weeks of subsidized camp every summer to youth whose families face financial barriers and could not afford the weekly fees.

Santas Anonymous also provides funding to feed all of our Camp Survivor participants, which is a great equalizer. When you can provide healthy breakfast and snacks for all youth, there is less focus on those who have and those who do not have. And what youth does not LOVE to eat?!?

Whether it’s Christmas-time or summer, the staff at Burnside Gorge get to witness the smiles, laughter, and success of children and youth in our programs. I wish I could bottle it and share it with everyone at Santas Anonymous, so that they’d know just how much of a difference they’re making for our centre and the people we serve together.

Everyone in our community should be thankful for Santas Anonymous and the great work they do year-round!


Suzanne Cole
Executive Director, Burnside Gorge Community Association


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