Silly Boats raise Critical Money to Help Local Families

By Dominic Abassi
July 16, 2016 - 10:36am

Will it float?

That's the question over 40 teams will be asking of their homemade boats Sunday, July 17, at the 32nd annual Silly Boat Regatta.

The wildly popular event, which typically draws more than 10,000 people to Maffeo Sutton Park, is designed to raise money for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.

CDC communications officer Erica Horsfield says last year the event brought in more than $110,000 of what they call undesignated funds, meaning they can use that money in the best way to benefit local children.

“To get those children that are on the wait list, and there are over 250 of them right now, get them the services they need. Whether that means expanding a program or hiring a new staff or therapist to help see more kids,” said Horsfield.

She says it's amazing to see the way Nanaimo pulls together to support this event, and many others throughout the year.

“I think it really shows at Silly Boat when you get to see the faces of the families that we've helped, or our staff that are down there walking around and you see how proud they are of the centre and of Nanaimo for coming together to help the centre.”

In the early years, the event brought in just a few thousand dollars. Now, Horsfield says, it averages over $100,000, which is huge for the CDC's ability to help local families.

“On average, our fundraising is about 6 percent of our overall revenue, that doesn't sound like a lot, but we are trying to increase that. This (Silly Boats) is a huge day for us, it's absolutely massive in terms of building our programs and services.”

The Nanaimo CDC offers a wide range of services and programs to children, youth and families with any sort of developmental delays, ranging from speech therapy, to occupational and physio therapy.

Horsfield says the park will be packed with family activities that get going at 10am.

Boat judging is at 12, with racing starting at 1 o'clock.

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