By Andrea Arnold

The large trailer that has served the McBride area as a bottle recycling drop off location for the Live Different trips has found a new home at the transfer station.

Live Different is an organization that is powered by volunteers to better the lives of others. One aspect of the group is humanitarian building projects. Robson Valley resident Derrick Shaw has been organizing groups from the valley to help for the past seven years. 

Shaw said that mid-summer, a black bear found the trailer at its previous home parked at a private residence, climbed in and pulled several bags out into the yard where it was parked. Not only did this create a mess, but it became apparent that it was also a safety risk to the children living in the home.

“Not wanting to be an attractant to any wildlife, I made the decision to take the trailer home for a few weeks in hopes the bear would move along to greener pastures,” said Shaw.

The bear didn’t move on quickly, so Shaw went to Regional District of Fraser Fort George Director Dannielle Allen. Following information she provided, Shaw was able to secure a location within the McBride transfer station.

Shaw purchased the trailer five years ago specifically for the purpose of leaving it in McBride for Live Different donation collection. He made arrangements with a local family to have it parked in the yard of their home.

“Huge appreciation sent to the Ondang family who housed it and were caretakers of it for five years,” he said.

All the funds collected through the bottle refunds and any other fundraisers, are deposited in a “Live Different Club” trust account at the school. For each trip funds are used to support all volunteers who need support, The money can help by covering the required travel medical insurance, subsidize flight and travel to and from San Diego, subside the individual donation required for each volunteer (currently $2150) and/or some trips those choosing to be vaccinated or take precautionary medications are covered using fundraised dollars. 

“McBride has been incredibly supportive of Live Different builds since McBride Secondary students and parents first volunteered in 2016,” said Shaw.

Since Shaw’s move to the Valemount high school the Live Different Club has expanded to include students, parents and community members of Valemount and McBride and all side roads in between.

The last build was in August of 2022 and the next one is planned for March break of 2024. There are 19 volunteers from the Robson Valley area as well as return participants joining them from Edmonton and one new addition from Jasper. Shaw says that they have again joined forces with Les Clarke, formally of Penticton so that the larger group can build more than one home for more than one family.  

“I am very excited to return and reconnect with the families we met on previous builds and to catch up with the local Mexico Live Different staff that make our time there everything it can be,” said Shaw. “Anyone who has questions or wants to join a future build is encouraged to connect with me any time.”