Thursday, May 23, 2013

Something Awesome: Nerf'ing your friends

Picture this:  You're walking down the street at night after a long day at work. You missed dinner. Your boss made you stay extra late and all you want to do is kick back and relax on the couch. Maybe have a cup of cocoa. Maybe watch some TV. Just a normal, quiet evening before bed.

The street is deserted. You're about halfway home. You're still feeling a bit peckish. There's a convenience store about four blocks to your right. Takes you out of the way, but the hunger. Oh, the hunger.

You decide to take the detour. That's what convenience stores are for, right? The convenience. As you round the corner, you feel…something. Something that's not quite right.

You look around. No one there. You shrug it off. You're exhausted. Maybe a little paranoid. It's getting late, right? The moon is out. Must be a trick of the lighting.

You keep walking, in anticipation of the hot dogs and giant cup of soda you're about to get.

Then, all of a sudden, three guys jump out of a car in front of you. Two more people approach you from behind. You didn't notice them at first, but your senses knew. You just never trust your gut.

The light is dim. You can barely make them out, but they begin walking ominously towards you. They start to reach into their coats for something. This is bad. Five on one. Crap odds no matter how you look at it.

"This is Calgary," you mutter to yourself. "This kind of stuff isn't supposed to happen here."

As they aim their weapons at you, you choose to stand your ground. You're not giving up without a fight. Besides, you're tired, you're still hungry and that convenience store is just within sight.

As the incoming projectiles come upon you, you whip out your Lightsaber and use your Padawan training to deflect everything. Then, as the aggressors try to reload, in an homage to The Matrix that would make Neo proud, you quickly sheath your Lightsaber, whip out your twin Nerf guns from under your coat and start showing these guys who's boss.

That, in a nutshell, is Dartwars.

  • What:  Dartwars Calgary 2013
  • Where:  The entire City of Calgary
  • When:  June 1 - 30, 2013

If you've ever wanted to play at secret agent, then Dartwars Calgary is for you. An alternate-reality game, Dartwars is a month-long Nerf dart gun fight that takes place all over the city. Participants each get three lives and try to get points by eliminating other players. If a player scores a hit, they get a point and the other guy loses a life. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

Lightsabers are used in the event of melee combat, to settle disputes, or to block incoming Nerf projectiles.

There are safe zones. Places of employment, public transit and C-Train platforms, schools and your home are off-limits. Everything else in the city is fair game.

There are a bunch of other rules to ensure that this remains a fun and safe game for all. For the full list, check out the Dartwars Calgary website.

Dartwars Calgary 2013 was an Awesome Calgary Top4 Finalist in April 2013, and there's still plenty of room available for people who'd like to sign up to play.

If you're interested in signing up or learning more, the organizers are holding a Meet-and-Greet and Q&A on the final day of signups, Sunday, May 26. They'll answer any questions you have, and you can meet some of the potential participants that'll be playing all month long.

  • What:  Dartwars Calgary Meet-and-Greet, Q&A and the Final chance to Sign Up!
  • Where: Dickens Pub (1000 - 9 Avenue SW)
  • When: Sunday, May 26 at 7 p.m.
  • RSVP:  Facebook

To learn more, check out or follow them on Facebook or Twitter at @DartWarsCalgary.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive was a huge success!

The Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive, our March 2013 winning project by Kristina Prins, took place over Mother's Day weekend and was a complete success!  Over the weekend, 23,434 diapers were collected in support of the Calgary Food Bank to help families in need, and over 30,000 since the drive began in earnest in April.

The diaper drive culminated at the Mother's Day weekend event at the Calgary Zoo, and here's a photo recap of that weekend's events from our Photographer of Awesome, Saudah Chan.

Meet Emmit, Kristina's son and inspiration to start Calgary's first diaper drive, raising over 30,000 diapers since April 2013.

Winning $1,000 at Awesome Calgary's Pitch Night on March 2013, Kristina Prins launched her campaign at the Calgary Zoo for diaper donation drop offs.

With family pitching in and volunteers working many hours in shifts, Day One saw over 8,000 diapers collected.

While 8,000 diapers was impressive, Day Two of the Mother's Day weekend Diaper Drive saw even more contributions, including a reunion with a childhood friend.

With the increased awareness of the fact that 1 in 5 families struggle to provide clean diapers for their babies, many Calgarians pitched in to support the cause.

Donating diapers is as easy as 1-2-3.

The generosity of local businesses, individuals and churches helped to raise thousands of diapers for families in need, making the diaper drive a huge success.

Day Two nearly tripled the previous day's success, collecting over 23,000 diapers over both days for the Calgary Inter-faith Food Bank.

Helping hands make for easier work.

We did it, Calgary! See you again next year!

For more photos, check out our Flickr slideshow:
And here's a quick message from Kristina about her experiences over the weekend:
Just because this year's edition of the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive is now over, it doesn't mean you can't still contribute! The need is ever-present and the Calgary Food Bank accepts diaper donations year-round. If you have diapers that you'd like to donate, you can drop them off at their main location or at one of the many Calgary Food Bank donation boxes located at grocery stores across the city. The Food Bank will happy accept opened boxes and unused disposable diapers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May's Top4 Finalists, Honourable Mentions and Venue

As we say goodbye to year two and start on the road to year three here at AF-Calgary, this month we'll be awarding our 25th $1,000 micro-grant on a special date: Wednesday, May 22.

With that in mind, here are this month's Top4 Finalists and Honourable Mentions, in no particular order:

Top4 Finalists

  1. BuckTeeth: Oral Hygiene with a Social Conscience by Kyle MacQuarrie:  "Receive a new toothbrush to your door every three months while making a philanthropic donation of four toothbrushes to a chosen charitable organization."
  2. Pavo Concertus by Ravi Mani:  "Junk Yard Wars + Pickup Truck + Peacocks + Pianos = Peacock art truck with an array of lights and sound."
  3. Largest Potluck Challenge by Anneke Scholten:  "To promote the importance of Eating Together, we will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for Largest Potluck!"
  4. 2013 People's Poetry Festival by Shannon McClennan:  "A free, three-day celebration of poetry in Calgary for young and old, amateur and beyond!"

Honourable Mentions

View Larger Map

Again, please note that this month's Awesome Calgary Pitch Night takes place on a special date:  Wednesday, May 22 at the Endeavor Arts and Events Space.

Finally, we're accepting submissions for our June grant, and the deadline for that is Monday, June 10. Apply here.

In June, we'll be returning to our regular fourth-Thursday-of-the-month schedule and it'll be a special month for us as the Canadian chapters of The Awesome Foundation have declared Thursday, June 27 as Awesome Day in Canada! It'll be a fun one for sure. Stay tuned for more details.

Hope to see you out on Wednesday!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Something Awesome: Baby Bottoms!

What's awesome? Cute, bubbly, happy and healthy babies!

What's not awesome? Babies that are forced to spend extended periods of time in soiled diapers because no clean ones are available.

1 in 5 Canadian mothers struggle to provide clean diapers for their children. For families who struggle financially to make ends meet, they have to sacrifice necessities in order to afford new diapers, and the average baby will use 2,800 diapers in their first year alone, costing an average of $850. Furthermore, daycare facilities often will not accept children without a full day's supply of disposable diapers, which further increases the pressure on families in need.

Our March 2013 AF-Calgary Fellow Kristina Prins aims to change that and bring awareness to the need with her Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive.

  • What:  The Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive
  • Where:  North end of the Calgary Zoo (by the Penguin Plunge)
  • When:  Saturday and Sunday May 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A self-funded project from Kristina's own pockets, she's teaming up with the Calgary Zoo to provide a diaper drop off this Mother's Day weekend in support of the Calgary Food Bank, who distributes a limited supply of diapers in hampers to families in need but is unable to spend any money on purchasing new ones as their mandate dictates that any funding has to go towards food. Citizens can drop off dollars or diapers at the zoo this weekend in exchange for a 2-for-1 admission for a future visit to the zoo.

All sizes of disposable diapers are needed, particularly sizes 5 and 6, and new or opened packages will be accepted.

If you can't make it down to the Zoo this weekend, donations will also be accepted year-round at the Calgary Food Bank, Food Bank donation stations at various supermarkets around town, and at all Community Health Centres (Shaganappi, South and North West Community Centres have year round collections).

Other locations may accept diapers throughout the year as well. For all the latest, follow Kristina's project on Facebook and Twitter, or if you'd like to learn more or how to organize a diaper drive of your own, send her a message by email.

So help a family in need this Mother's Day weekend by donating some dollars or a diaper or two to the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive!