It was a day of firsts for 11 orphaned African teens, who visited White Rock last week as part of a cross-Canada tour.
The group of youth made a stop at White Rock Beach Thursday and were given a chance to experience many of the seaside community’s most popular activities.
The sojourn at the beach included a lunch of fish and chips donated by Moby Dick’s, ice cream cones provided by Spiritual Ingredients and an hour of paddleboarding courtesy of Feral Boardsports.
Among the highlights for the young group, according to White Rock resident and sponsor, Lisa Reid, was shell collecting, discovering sea life and experiencing the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
“Our community reached out with open arms to embrace this wonderful opportunity to provide a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten,” Reid told Peace Arch News.
The visit – organized and supported by Abbotsford-based charity Seeds of Hope Children’s Ministry that supports children with HIV and other chronic illnesses – includes stops across the country, where the teens will sing in local churches and share stories about life in an orphanage in Zambia.
The month-long tour – which will see the group visit the Okanagan, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and several Ontario communities – wraps up in Toronto on Sept. 5.