A well-known London Police officer is gearing up to climb Africa’s highest mountain to raise money to help troubled youth.
Detective Constable Ken Steeves will be making the trek up Mount Kilimanjaro next week alongside seven others, and leaves for Tanzania on Saturday.
“I think I’m more excited at this point, you know, I haven’t actually made it there, it’s a lot more real now than it was, say, a year ago when I first booked it, but I’m quite excited,” Steeves said in an interview Thursday with AM980’s Craig Needles.
The former media officer for the London Police Service sits on the board of the London-based non-profit Anago, which “serves female youth in need of protection, male youth in conflict with the law, and individuals with developmental disabilities who may also be medically fragile,” according to it’s website. Steeves has been a board member since 2013.
Steeves says he got idea to climb the mountain during an event he attended over the summer as part of his board member activities.
“(I) met this woman who’s an executive director of a business, a company here in Canada, and she said ‘we climb Mount Kilimanjaro every year, you should come with us.’ And that’s what got my mind going, thinking ‘well, why not?’” Steeves said.
Two B.C. couples, a father and son from the U.S., and a woman from Bangkok, Thailand will join Steeves in the climb up to the summit of the nearly 6,000 metre mountain.
“We’re going to be going with guides, and there are also going to be porters as well carrying up to 30 pounds of our gear and our stuff that we don’t need throughout the day,” Steeves said. “From my understanding, it’s not a physically demanding trek on the way up, I guess it’s more demanding on the way down with your joints … It’s more the altitude and the lack of oxygen towards the summit.”
Steeves says he was encouraged to use the adventure as a way to raise money for Anago, and initially started with a fundraising goal of just $1,000. He says he has since upped the fundraising goal to $4,000, and is just under $700 shy. He says Anago’s work helping male youth in conflict with the law hit close to home, adding it was one of the main reasons he wanted to go on the trip and raise money for the organization.
“I was raised in an environment where both of my parents struggled with alcohol,” Steeves said. “There was a lot of abuse with my Dad toward my Mom, so I’ve been exposed to a lot. If it weren’t for proper support and guidance, I think I could very well be in the same or similar situation as these youths that are currently struggling with conflicts with the law.”
“If I could raise some money for Anago, which in turn provides services for the youth, hopefully we can provide a proper path for these young boys.”
(With files from Matthew Trevithick, Craig Needles, Travis Dolynny)