On Aug. 11, 18 strangers headed to the woods northwest of the city to be stranded for three days, sleeping outdoors with little food while facing backstabbing tribe members, gruelling challenges and plenty of surprises.

Not only did this group go willingly, but they also fundraised a significant amount for the right to do so.

They must be crazy, right?

Wrong. The 18 were actually contestants in Stranded: Water Valley, a three-day Survivor-style game that serves as a major fundraiser for Kids Up Front Calgary.

Stranded: Water Valley, presented by TD, began on the morning of Friday, Aug. 11 outside the Kids Up Front Calgary office in downtown Calgary. The 18 hopped on the bus and instantly began creating bonds while being cautious, because how much trust can there be in a game like this?

It started at the Water Valley stampede grounds, just on the outside of Camp Kindle. A huge thanks needs to go out to both, for the Water Valley Stampede lending their facilities to allow us to start our game several hours earlier than last year, and to Camp Kindle and Kids Cancer Care, for providing lodging, transportation around the camp, food and so much support during Stranded. Without support from Pembina as our venue sponsor, this also would not have been possible.

After a relay challenge, won by Bearberry, and eating challenge, won by Fallen Timber, the tribes had their first immunity competition, which resulted in a double eviction for both of the losing teams. The challenges and tribal councils continued all weekend through early mornings and late nights, testing the mettle of the players.

Sleeping outside with little food can be tough, but luckily we had rewards to make the experience slightly more bearable for everyone. Thank you to the following for your huge support and for brightening our contestant’s moods:

All weekend long, the tribes were followed by our brilliant camera crew of Mitch and Indy from Crooked Cinema Productions. Whether they were sitting in at tribal council, partaking in challenges or scheming behind-the-scenes, the crew was there to film it. Mitch and Indy were upbeat and excited all weekend, and with help from KUF staff member Landon on the boom mic, the movie should be a brilliant finished product. Special thanks to Morrison Homes for sponsoring the video!

The Camera Store lent us Lav microphones so we could have perfect sound for Jamie all weekend long, plus a GoPro to get some rather creative shots. It’s going to make the finished product a treat for all.

Across the three days, Blindside Entertainment threw twists and turns that even the staff and volunteers didn’t know about. From merges to tribe swaps, the unpredictability of the event kept everyone on their toes. The five behind Blindside did a brilliant job of adapting to changes (fire ban), staying on schedule and providing the best experience possible.

We kept our eliminated players, volunteers and crew happy with an assortment of drinks from Hey Y’all, Bowen Island Brewing and Lone Tree Cider.

Clearly, there are a significant number of parties to thank but we are incredibly grateful for everyone’s support, from those who donated to individual fundraising campaigns, to prize sponsors, and especially our brave, selfless 18 contestants!

Outside of the experience, players got some amazing gifts. Special thanks to Bass Pro Shop, West Side Recreation, Capture the Flag Cochrane, CoCo Brooks, Push Airdrie, Social Supper, Thumbprint Craft Beer Market, Confessions of a Meal Plan Addict, Dynotag, Mr. Mike’s, The Keg, MEC, UST, Hoo Rag, and Lace Brick Design.

We also need to thank a few others: Blazing Saddle for the western-themed decor, the Water Valley Saloon for hosting a top-notch after party, Wi-Com Solutions for keeping our radios running all weekend, Armour On Safety for having an EMT on call all weekend, and WillCo for providing us with a bus to and from the camp!

Stranded: Water Valley is an experience that many can’t understand until they live it, feel the stress and survive in the woods. We were thrilled to have several of last year’s contestants come back to volunteer this year as part of the KUF Krew.

At the end of the weekend, it was clear this was so much more than just a game. True friendships blossomed and many said it was a weekend that will stick in their memory for life. One last thank you to EVERYONE involved – we’re already looking forward to next year!

Want to see photos from the event?: https://www.facebook.com/pg/kidsupfrontcalgary/photos/?tab=albums

Read the recap here: https://storify.com/KidsUpFrontCalg/getting-started

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *