Stories From Our City | City-Wide

Walking Together for Youth Transformation

Story by Sarah Maat, Central Services - Engagement Team Intern

Photo collage of the different locations

What do bikes, strollers, running shoe key chains and race bibs have in common?

Together they all played a role in the Gain Ground with YU walkathon this Spring.

The dream for this event started during the cold winter days of January, and just three short months later over 500 participants gathered at 11 locations to walk together and help raise support for Youth Unlimited programs.

Our staff wanted to hold an event that would help them connect with new and old friends, and raise prayer and financial support for their work at YU, and walking was the perfect forum.

Gain Ground was fun and easy to participate in—for both staff and their friends. There were snacks, prizes, and interactive activities at each of the locations.

Interns got involved by baking cookie goodie bags to thank participants, the Burlington location had a meal, and one of the spots in Toronto included activities for kids like sightseeing bingo.

One staff member shared that the walk created opportunities for connection that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. He spent the 5 km walking with an acquaintance who eventually became a close friend and supporter. At the walk he had the chance he’d been missing to intentionally share about his ministry. Now this new friend and our staff member meet monthly and are joined by their desire to see transformed youth transform the city.

This is just one example of how amazing it was to share the YU story with new networks of people from churches and communities across the GTA. The hope with this Gain Ground event was that YU staff would have the opportunity to extend their support circles further than they usually could.

Overall, the walk was a special time of connection for staff and their supporters. The time in nature fostered time for connection and conversation that our busy lives sometimes struggle to prioritize.

We are extremely thankful for all the people that showed up—rain or shine—and the success we had at our first annual Gain Ground with YU event!