On a sunny Sunday in June – the 26th, to be exact – laughter was heard across the community of Tuscany in northwest Calgary. Hosting their first event since the COVID-19 pandemic and first community-wide event ever, Tuscany Youth Council (TYC), a branch of the Tuscany Community Association (TCA), began the day with a three kilometre colour run, funded in part by ActivateYYC’s Walk, Play and Be Neighbourly grant program.
Runners were provided with a race kit that consisted of a white t-shirt, a bandana, sunglasses and their very own pouch of coloured powder. This very powder became the symbolic starter pistol for the race, with runners tossing the powder in the air at the beginning of the route to signal their start. Throughout the route, volunteers stationed at checkpoints covered runners in different coloured powders until the finish line, where participants were doused in one last blast of colour.
Following the run, the entire community was invited to participate in the free carnival, whether they participated in the run or not. The carnival consisted of inflatable obstacle courses, face painters, a DJ, various games and activities, entertainment and a selection of food trucks. Nkechi Seale, TCA Director and TYC Co-Leader, says her role was to help the youth – aged 14-16 years old – go through the process of what needs to happen to plan a big event and how to manage it. “There was just a lot of learning for them and that was the whole purpose of doing this,” she says. “And the result is just an amazing community event.” Seale emphasizes the importance of bringing the community together after two and a half long years of the COVID-19 pandemic. This same idea is echoed by two of the youths who helped organize the event, Nailah Seale and Sara Danyliw. “We wanted to do something like a big event like this to bring people together after COVID,” they said. “It’s good to keep having [community events] to keep morale up.”
The event was a resounding success, bringing together over two hundred people for a day filled with joy and community spirit. “A lot of people don’t even necessarily know their neighbour, but they’re out there doing the race with them and it’s really, really heartening,” says Nkechi Seale.