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    Hiking for a cause

    hiking for a cause pic 1

    Hikers and Father James Hagel of the Saint Gabriel Parish Church at Lilian Lake during Angels on High last year. Throughout the weekend, residents are encouraged to hike, have a potluck dinner, play games, and craft all while forming lasting bonds. Photo submitted

    The Saint Gabriel Parish Church’s seventh annual Angels on High fundraiser is allowing Chestermere residents to bond while spending a weekend hiking and camping in Kananaskis.

    From July 13 until July 15, outdoors enthusiasts can choose between hiking the Ptarmigan Cirque, or the Grizzle Col on July 14, which supports the construction of the St. Gabriel Archangel Catholic Church building in Chestermere.

    “Angels on High is for everyone,” said Organizer of the Angels on High fundraiser Sarah Papke.

    “People can expect fun, fellowship and friendship,” she said.

    Throughout the weekend, hikers and campers are encouraged to patriciate in a potluck dinner, games, crafts, and other group activities.

    Ptarmigan Cirque is a two to three-hour hike for families or people who are new to hiking. Papke added the Grizzle Col hike is for those who want a challenge, as it is more difficult.

    The Angels on High fundraiser will provide the Catholic community a designated place to worship, a place for the community to come together, support one another, and a home base to organize various ways to serve the needs of the community, Papke said.

    “You don’t have to be Catholic to join us. We have had people from all walks of life, and many different backgrounds join us. We love meeting new people and sharing our love for hiking with everyone,” Papke said.

    “A strong community depends on the people who make up the community to form relationships with one another,” Papke said.

    The Angels on High fundraiser is designed to build relationships to strengthen the community, by spending time with friends, families, and neighbours. She added, spending time in nature allows hikers to rejuvenate not only the body but also the mind and spirit.

    “Happier people make happier communities,” she said.

    Since the weekend camping trip and hike first began in 2013, it has been loved by residents in the community.

    “I have heard over and over from participants how much they enjoy the opportunity to spend time with one another, and to get out of the city and be active,” Papke said.

    “This is something that Chestermere’s Catholic community has prayed for, for a long time. It allows us to feel like we are doing something tangible to get closer to reaching this goal,” Papke said.

    Making friendships and seeing someone who has little or no experience hiking making it to the top of a mountain is always special to Papke.

    “Angels of High has introduced countless people over the years to our beautiful mountains. It goes to show that together, we are stronger,” Papke said.

    She added, “I have met some people, who I now consider dear friends, and I’m so

    grateful.”

    The Angels on High fundraiser gives residents an opportunity to build a church from the ground up.

    “In striving to do better, we also try to improve all those around us,” said Saint Gabriel Parish Father James Hagel.

    “We have a deeper spiritual motivation, it inspires us to make all things better,” Hagel said.

    Without support from the community, and the local sponsors Angels on High wouldn’t be possible.

    Residents can register to hike or camp at www.saintgabrielparish.ca, registration for both hikes is free, and to camp is $70 per unit.

    “We are placing more focus on building community this year. We want to see as many people participate as possible,” Papke said.

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