Fresh Air cycles for a cause
Sponsored Content - Apr 29, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
The Fresh Air Kelowna team is cycling for a cause on May 29 at the 15th annual YMCA Cycle for Strong Kids event, the charity’s largest annual fundraiser. Proceeds from the event give low-income children in the Okanagan access to YMCA programs.

After being on hiatus for two years the YMCA Cycle for Strong Kids event returns, with Fresh Air Kelowna back in the saddle as co-presenting sponsor of the fundraiser. On May 29, the Fresh Air team will be sweating and cycling at the H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre to raise funds for the financial support that one in five kids needs to stay in YMCA programs. The support can be life-changing.

“The YMCA is there to support families, get kids involved in sport and provide access to activities that not everyone has,” Fresh Air co-owner Ryan Olar says. Years ago, when Olar first started working at the sports store, he saw the power of the YMCA first-hand when a man he had been working with shared the story of how Cycle for Strong Kids had a profound effect on his family.

The man’s wife had passed, and he was raising their three children on his own. With the YMCA’s support he was able to access child care and continue working. “It was through the YMCA and the community support that he was able to continue on,” Olar says. “It struck home, and I thought to myself: Wow, we’re really helping people, this is really making a difference. Fresh Air has been supporting the fundraiser, which helps remove barriers to access to YMCA programs for underprivileged youth, since 2011.

Team captain Ryan Olar, Amie Olar and staff from the run, ski and bike shop will be breaking a sweat on the team. “It’s a really fun atmosphere, but it’s a workout,” Ryan Olar says. “We work really hard and as the first team we’re trying to create more energy for the next group.”

The Fresh Air shop is aiming to raise $100,000 this year to help keep kids in sport. To donate, drop by either Fresh Air locations (Fresh Air Harvey at 18-2070 Harvey Ave., or Fresh Air Pandosy at 555 Groves Ave.) or make a donation online.

One in six children in Central Okanagan are living in poverty. At the same time, growing up in poverty is linked to health-related issues and lower academic achievement. Lowering barriers to sport and child care helps build confidence, community and healthy choices for youth in the Okanagan.

The YMCA Cycle for Strong Kids is the charity’s largest annual fundraiser and gives underprivileged and at-risk children in the community the chance to register for programs that all kids should be able to enjoy, like daycare, swim lessons, recreational activities, youth leadership programs, and before and after school programs.

Fresh Air has been bringing Kelowna residents the gear and expertise needed to run, bike and ski their best for 40 years. It is also a proud community partner, playing a founding role in many races, clubs and charitable initiatives in Kelowna. Learn more at

The YMCA of Okanagan, meanwhile, is a charity dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community. Driven by a vision for a healthier Okanagan, the organization is inspired by the achievements of the thousands of people supported every year on their journey towards a brighter future.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.

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