Leah Myers
The Navigator

Photo courtesy: ypnallsportchallenge.com

The Young Professionals of Nanaimo (YPN) will be holding their first annual All Sport Challenge on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 at Barsby/Centennial Fields and Splitsville Entertainment. There will be 13 teams competing in basketball, ultimate, bowling, handball, soccer and dodgeball games and there will be vendors and food trucks available for spectators.  The All Sport challenge is YPN’s sole fundraiser this year and includes approximately 150 participants, and ten volunteers and eight referees from VIU. The donation per team was $750 and the ticket included t-shirts, light refreshments, participation in activities, dinner at Fibber Magees and entertainment. Daniel Martinez, vice president of YPN and All Sport Challenge event ambassador said the money raised from the event will be going to community initiatives. Leif Bogwald and Braden Wheatcroft of YPN are also ambassadors for the event.

The AllSport Challenge was modelled after a similar YPN fundraiser, the Blair McKinnon Celebrity Football: an event that honoured one of the co-founders of YPN, Blair McKinnon, who passed away in 2010.

The event has many local sponsors, including Harold Engineering, Island Optimal, Island Timberland, Save on Foods, and the YPN was also given a grant from the city of Nanaimo for the fundraiser.

The YPN was created almost five years ago, and started as an initiative from a couple of like-minded individuals who were interested in connecting with and giving back to the community. Within the first year the YPN gathered around 60 members and has since grown to over 100.

According to Martinez, the group was created because Nanaimo needed a resource for young graduates who were becoming the next team of field professionals in the city. Martinez said YPN is unique because of it is casual yet professional structure and even though YPN holds weekly meetings, there’s no obligation for group members to attend the gatherings.

“We really have a wide variety of backgrounds in the group, accounts, graphic designers, lawyers largest member is the health care, naturopath, we have many different opportunities, people who join our group can expect to connect with many different professionals, looking for jobs to connect.”

Stated on their website, the four pillars of the YPN are professional development, community involvement, business networking, and social networking.

During the closing ceremonies of the All Sport Challenge, details will be announced regarding the launch of a new community initiative, Volunteer 5000, which will commit members of the YPN to volunteer 5000 hours to the community.

Martinez said that the fundraiser will support community projects the YPN has completed in the past such as the Nanaimo Train Station Restoration: where they raised  $400K following the fire that destroyed the train station, the YPN Community gardens: where they rent garden beds and volunteers grow produce to donate to the food bank, and project purple: where they re-painted the building where Pirate Chips now resides.

For more information on Young Professionals of Nanaimo, or the YPN All Sport Challenge, visit:
ypnanaimo.com or ypnallsportchallenge.com