GUYSBOROUGH – Last week the charity Dreams Take Flight made the dreams of four children – Bianca Surette, Aeryn Chalcraft, Noah Livingston, and Marissa Fraser --from the Municipality of the District of Guysborough come true with a whirlwind trip to Disney World in Florida.
Dreams Take Flight is a national non-profit with chapters across Canada including Halifax. The organization is run by Air Canada employees and volunteers from various agencies such as the Boys & Girls Club and the RCMP. The goal of the organization is to provide the trip-of-a-lifetime to children between the ages of 6 to 12 who may not otherwise have the opportunity to visit the Magic Kingdom.
Cst. Nathan Sparks, who works out of the both the Guysborough and Canso RCMP detachments, brought the Dreams Take Flight program to the Guysborough area and spoke to The Journal on Monday about the trip and the charity.
“I heard about the program through another volunteer who is involved. I contacted the administration of the organization asking if anyone from Guysborough County had ever gone with the program Dreams Take Flight to Disney. I was told no so I wrote a letter giving an overview of the county, the schools here, the youth here, and my involvement with the school and the youth and asked if I could make nominations for youth in our area to go on the upcoming trip,” said Sparks.
He received positive feedback and went to meet with the organization in Halifax. He looked to community leaders to suggest candidates for the trip and compiled a list of children, four of whom were selected for the trip.
Youth from over Atlantic Canada flew out of Halifax early in the morning on April 25. They got into Orlando, Florida about 8 a.m. where a Disney bus met them at the plane and took them to a full day of fun, all-expenses-paid, at Walt Disney World.
They left that night at 8 p.m., driven by the Disney bus back to the airport where customs screening was arranged on the tarmac at the stairway to the plane. They arrived in Halifax at 1 a.m. on April 26. Sparks said, “It was a long day. I think we walked about 17-18 kilometres in total so we were pretty tired but it was a great day.”
“All the kids were given a lot of souvenirs. They were not allowed to take any money, neither were the volunteers allowed to spend any money while we were down there. Disney covers all their meals and drinks,” said Sparks adding that all the children got jammed packed goody bags to take home with gear from Dreams Take Flight and Disney.
In online interviews with The Journal the children who went on the trip from within the MODG commented on their Disney adventure.
Aeryn Chalcraft, who attends Chedabucto Education Centre / Guysborough Academy (CECGA), said he was surprised to be chosen for the trip and the most exciting thing he did was eat a foot long chili cheese dog. He was also taken aback by some of the rides he went on, especially one where it was so dark he couldn't see the track.
Another CECGA student, Bianca Surette, said the most exciting and unexpected thing she did was go on one of the fastest roller coasters called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, to face her fear of rollercoasters and had a blast on it. She added, "It was so much fun, I went on another roller coaster called Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.”
The Circle of Progress made quite an impression on Noah Livingston, a student at Fanning Education Centre/ Canso Academy; he's been singing the song to that ride ever since he has been back. But the most exciting ride by far, he claims, was Space Mountain, the indoor roller coaster ride. Aside from the rides the thing that stuck with Noah most was the portion size of a the meals; the size of the hotdogs, popcorn, elephant ears and drinks. Everything was massive, he reported.
Marissa Fraser, also a student at Fanning, said the most exciting thing for her was riding the roller coasters. And the most unexpected thing, as it was for many of the other children, was getting picked for the trip. She said it was an amazing experience and she didn’t expect all the free stuff they got to take home as souvenirs.
The trip certainly made an impression on these children; made possible by a charity that works to put some magic into a child's life.