Inclusion comes in many forms, and for Power To Be it is now rooted in a long-term home.

The organization signed a 25-year lease on its Prospect Lake program hub effective April 1, 2017, extending the original three-year lease with the Steele family and opening a world of opportunity close to home for participants.

“We want anyone that arrives to feel a sense of belonging. We can’t know exactly what that means today, because it’s going to evolve throughout the 25 years we are stewarding this land,” says Jennifer Garrett, Power To Be Director of Finance and Operations. “The lake is rich with people, history and a sense of community. There are so many stories here, now including our own.”

Cedric Steele, Shawn Steele and Jennifer Garrett, Director of Finance and Operations.

Power To Be has been on the site since March 2016, operating programs and using the space to launch adventures throughout Vancouver Island. The activities there complement the growing program opportunities in Vancouver, allowing Power To Be to offer adventures to more than 1,100 participants last year. With programs expanding to meet demand from the community, the Steele family is honoured to support the organization in such a tangible way, says Shawn Steele, of the Steele family.

Power To Be’s programs align with our long-term desire for the property. We admire the invaluable work that Power To Be does in our community, and we want to support that,” says Shawn Steele, noting his family has owned the land for more than 40 years. “With this site, Power To Be can focus more on program development and assisting participants, rather than worrying about venues.”

Over the last year, the 88-acre site has transitioned from a golf course to a more natural landscape – a rewilding of sorts. “It’s been nice to see some of the areas naturalized,” Steele says. “This lease ensures the land stays pristine, and the use of the land remains recreational. We want to leave a legacy there for the next generation.”

Founded in 1998, Power To Be is built on partnerships and the Prospect Lake site is a fantastic example of what can come when values and generosity align, Garrett says.

“They are philanthropists in the true sense of the word,” Garrett says. “They really want to share this land with people.”

Power To Be is honoured to welcome our participants, their families and support networks, and our community partners to the wilderness just outside the city centre. The proximity to the urban core is what makes the site accessible in the traditional sense, and Power To Be’s focus on inclusion is what makes the opportunity so valuable for the people and community we serve.

As Power To Be looks to the future for the site, partnership will play an important role, Garrett says. “Engaging our community and stakeholders in developing the site, our programs and how we define inclusion is vital. We can’t do this on our own.”