First launched in July 2010, as a partnership between information technology company T4G and Saint John’s annual Celebration of Green Space event, the Stride for Success fundraiser relay for the Portage Atlantic Recovery Trail wrapped up its third and final year on Sunday, July 15 at the Lily Lake Pavilion in Saint John.
This last relay in the series was a big success, with teams from Portage, T4G, the Saint John Firefighters, Royal Bank, and the RCMP running for the cause. All in all, $13,000 was raised this year for the Recovery Trail project at Cassidy Lake, bringing the three-year total to $55,000.
“The Recovery Trail will help strengthen the minds and bodies of our recovering youth while improving accessibility to the natural beauty of the centre’s lakeside property,” says Dr. Russell H.T. King, Chairman of Portage Atlantic. “Thank you to all Stride for Success participants for their contribution to this important fundraising endeavour.”
The Recovery Trail project is the development a safe and picturesque all-season trail through the woods at Portage’s residential addiction rehabilitation centre site at Cassidy Lake. Staff and residents look forward to using the Recovery Trail as a beautiful and calming space for running, walking, biking, snowshoeing, and for quiet reflection.
“A lot of our residents arrive physically and emotionally damaged,” says Interim Facility Director Luc Desjardins. “Having this trail and all these opportunities for physical activity can help them to eventually feel better by being active throughout the day.”
Construction of the trail is already underway. It includes extending the existing 3.8 kilometre trail, building a boardwalk down to a boathouse by the lake, and constructing a sleeping shelter in the woods that can be used for group sessions.
“We can send a small group out there to talk with a counsellor without any type of disturbance,” says Desjardins. “A calm atmosphere with no stress: it’s what our residents need.”
In an article by Sherry Aske of the Telegraph-Journal, a resident who arrived at Portage in February said that he and his peers jump at the chance to be in nature while in treatment.
“Residents love using the lake for swimming and canoeing and we are looking forward to using the trails as well,” he said. “There are no distractions here. The reclusiveness of Cassidy Lake gives you time to focus on yourself.” (“Strides for Success to fund rehab centre” Telegraph-Journal, June 2012)
A grand opening trail walk will be held at some point next year.
Portage Atlantic would like to thank everyone who helped organise the event over the past three years, all those who ran in the Stride for Success relays, and all the generous donors who helped to make this project a reality:
Pictured above: Kyle S., Luc Desjardins, David Baxter, Cathy Simpson and John B. stand before a sleeping shelter being built as part of the Recovery Trail, which will provide residents with scenic space to reflect. Photo: Sherry Aske/Telegraph-Journal