Kamloops kid giving up weekends and free time to bring ninja warrior park to town

Owen Cleaveley, 12, has been giving up his free time to sell popcorn in order to pay for a ninja warrior park in Kamloops.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Boys and Girls Club Kamloops

KAMLOOPS - During this past summer in Kamloops there's a good chance you spotted a 12-year-old at the mall or a local event selling popcorn to raise money to fulfill his dream of bringing a ninja warrior inspired parkour park to town.

Owen Cleaveley's game plan was simple, according to his mom Jennifer Cleaveley who works at the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops. She says he decided he would sell popcorn at events around town and slowly make his way to the $50,000 it would take to build the park.

It would be located at the Boys and Girls Club on Wood Street and it would include American Ninja Warrior TV show inspired obstacles like the quadruple step and a warped wall.

"He sort of wrote out what he would need like a peanut butter jar for the money and a popcorn machine and all of the extra things that he would need," she says. "He stuck it under the door of our executive director and she's like 'well I have to listen to what our members want' and he's been a member since 2012."

Since then Owen has been working with the Boys and Girls Club to get the word out and sell his popcorn. Over the summer he set up his popcorn stand at Atmosphere in Aberdeen Mall, or at the Jon Tod YMCA, or at Club events. Slowly but surely the money started to trickle in, though most of it hasn't been for his popcorn.

Owen receiving a cheque from Cascades Casino to go towards bringing a ninja warrior-inspired park to Kamloops.
Owen receiving a cheque from Cascades Casino to go towards bringing a ninja warrior-inspired park to Kamloops.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Boys and Girls Club Kamloops

"He got $1,000 from Cascades Casino. They came with a cheque and did a big presentation," she says. "He also got another $1,000 from NRI Distribution."

She says he raised $300 at a Boys and Girls Club appreciation dinner and while he was set up at Atmosphere he collected $200.

Despite the great community support, Owen knows he is still a long way from his goal. In fact Jennifer worked it out and found he will have to sell close to 27,000 bags of popcorn in order to pay for the park so her employers at the Boys and Girls Club decided to help out.

Owen's project is now part the Aviva Community Fund campaign that awards money to local initiatives based on the votes received in an online competition.

Jennifer says he has taken his role in bringing a ninja warrior park to Kamloops very seriously and will continue to work towards his goal even if his project does not make it to the next phase of the Aviva campaign.

To learn more about Owen's campaign or to vote, go here.

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