At 14 years old, Willem Young has become FEAT Kids’ water warrior. Since finding his love of water sports at 6 years old after joining the North Vancouver Cruisers Swim Club, Willem became a dedicated members of Tri4Ghana, an athletic group of three boys that raised funds to create education opportunities for others across the world.
Tri4Ghana all began when Willem’s school, Island Pacific School on Bowen Island, became involved in a pen pal program with kids who live at the Royal Seed home, an orphanage in Casoa, Ghana. When Willem found out that the children would no longer be able to attend school after grade 9 unless someone funded their education, Willem and his friends felt they had the power to make a change.
Willem had been commuting by ferry from North Vancouver, BC to get to his school on Bowen Island, and saw the ferry crossing as an excellent opportunity for a 3.5km open water swim. After mentioning the idea to his friends, they came up with the idea of making a 55km relay triathlon from Deep Cove to Bowen Island in support of their pen pals in Ghana. While most people prefer to commute by car, bus, or bike, Willem’s choice was by swimming!
The triathlon began with a 41km bike ride from Deep Cove to Whyte Cliff Park and then a 3.5km swim from Whyte Cliff Park to Sandy Beach, Bowen Island. The last leg was a 12.5km run from Sandy Beach up Mt. Gardener and back down to Willem’s school. The original goal was to raise $10,000; however, with help from an $18,000 matching donation from Sanctuary For Kids, Willem and his team raised a total of $40,000! Since putting his swim cap on and completing the relay, Willem and his friends have enable ten kids from the Royal Seed Orphanage to start high school and further their education.