We arrived by bus west of Water Valley, Alberta on Friday August 12th. Immediately we were taken up a hill as a group and then led into the trees on a long path. Eventually ended up at a fire pit with benches (Tribal Council) and were given our tribe colours (8 people per tribe). I was put into the ‘Fallen Timber Tribe’ and the 8 of us were taken on a hike to our camp location. At this location we found a fire pit, a tarp, rope, bag of rice, a pot, lighter, water canteens (no water though!), and very light summer sleeping bags. We were then left alone. We set up shelter with the tarp and collected fire wood (all the wood was soaked from rain). We were then told a water jug was up a steep hill tied to a tree. So when we needed to fill our 500ml water canteen we needed to climb up to fill it (imagine how many trips that took on a hot day!).
A whistle then blasted and we were told to hike back down to the flat open area to begin our first team challenge for ‘immunity’. All of the challenges were similar to the ones Jamie did on the real Survivor TV show. Our team unfortunately lost this challenge. We were told to hike back to camp where we made rice and darkness came and went to bed on the ground under our shelter. Tribal Council was not until the next morning. We woke to cameras in our faces, literally! It was really awkward to wake up outside on the ground with a camera crew suddenly there with a camera looking at you!
Our tribe voted the first person out around 7am the next morning (just guessing because the sun had barely come up by then). We then returned to camp to make rice to prepare for the next challenge.
Our next challenge came and we finally won, the other tribe had to vote one of their players out. Each time we had to hike back and forth between the challenge location and camp (and from camp to our water). It was hot on Saturday and everything we did was physically demanding. Our tribes continued to do challenges until we had voted out a few players each. Then they suddenly took both tribes up to the Tribal Council area and put a twist on the game. They re-did the tribes. I was then put into a different tribe with some of the same players and some new players. That is when the game became mentally tough! The lack of food, sleep, and physical exhaustion was getting very difficult for many. It was also when you really started to notice the alliances and game playing. As this was a sponsored event, the main sponsor (TD Bank) was allowed to have 4 of their own employees in the game. On top of that there were a few pre-game alliances with a few of their friends in the game as well. The final 4 were all in the same pre-game alliance, so that part was perhaps the only complaint from the other contestants. For those of us who were strangers to the other contestants, we really didn’t have an opportunity to create a true ‘social’ game. But my complaint stops there because without TD Bank and their generous donation, Kids Up Front wouldn't have raised so much money (so thank you TD Bank).
My game ended when my tribe eventually had to vote another person out, I was the odd man out of those pre-game alliances. It was just before the merger of the two tribes. While the cards were stacked against many of the other contestants from the start, it didn’t take away from the incredible experience. I would do it all over again if given the opportunity!
After you are voted out, you are then led back to the main camp containing lodges for accommodation, including showers, a bed, food, beer, etc. Once it was all over and the last surviving member remained, we had a big BBQ at the main lodging area and then back on the bus to Calgary.
I am sure the video will take months to create and edit, but there are thousand of pictures I hope they share soon! I will share as soon as they are released! Below are a few sample pictures from Kids Up Front.
I am very thankful to Kids Up Front Calgary for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this incredible and inaugural event! THANK YOU to each of MY donors for contributing to this charity event! We raised over $60,000 for the local charity and at the end of the day that is what we did it for!