Africa trip becomes a reality for one local youth

By Lindsay Ducharme

Nathaniel Crossley has become a well known figure within the community. Residents know him as an inspirational young man, a community activist and an incredibly giving individual.  Being a pre adolescent, people may mistakenly believe Crossley is simply following the directive of the adults in his life, when in reality, though his parents are a definite inspiration to him, it is clear he is the ringmaster of his fundraising mission.

Last year Crossley began raising money to fund a trip to Africa to visit the wells he helped build through a previous fundraising initiative.  A hefty goal in and of itself, but true to form, Crossley sought to expand the scope of the trip.

“First I initially planned to go there for a couple days to visit my wells and do some fun stuff.  A couple weeks later I was doing an interview and they asked what is going to be next.  It just popped into my head and I said I’m going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with my dad for the Heart and Stroke Foundation,” Crossley remembered.

“My dad thought ‘Oh boy, here we go again.’ He is really proud of me that I actually achieved my goal and now that I’m going beyond that goal. I’m really, really shocked that I was able to raise this much money.”

While Crossley may be shocked with his achievement, those who know him are not.  Throughout the course of his fundraising he has worked hard to achieve his goal.  Crossley, inspired by Kyle MacDonald, the man who traded his way from one red paper clip to a house, began a trade mission.  He started with an intricate Lego creation he had crafted, eventually trading up to a plethora of NHL hockey memorabilia. He also hosted month long bottle drives in the community.  He refused to give up when he experienced setbacks, even when just last month the contents of one of his bottle bins were stolen.

“I had two bottle drives. I had two bottle bins donated to me, the first one I got about $1,000 from. The second one was trashed and all the bottles were stolen.  After that I held another bottle drive and I ended up with four times the amount of money over one week than the entire drive before.  I was really, really touched because as soon as I put my story on Twitter it went viral in about 15 minutes,” he explained.

The result of his hard work is that he is not only able to fund his trip to Africa along with his father, but also a safari and new hiking shoes for his tour guides.  Over the course of a year Crossley has raised $25,000. In addition, all money raised through the sale of his hockey memorabilia will be donated to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Crossley’s adventure will begin on October 16th when he will take flight to Africa.  Upon his arrival he will visit his wells, climb Mount Kilimanjaro and complete a three day safari.

“I’m estimating the climb will take about 8 days.  We will then go visit the wells and take off on a three day, two night safari and we are going to be spending two nights in the bush.  We are going to spend one night sleeping in the Ngorongora Crater, my dad told me it was beautiful and he’s never gone into it, he’s only been around it, so I’m looking forward to going there with him.”