The Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce recently announced they would no longer be organizing the annual Santa Claus Parade.
Executive Director Shelley Wadden said what they and other organizations have noticed over the years is the inability to ignite their members in organizing these events.
“People are busy, they have families, they’re working different jobs or their husbands are out of town, so we as a society, are seeing more and more that people don’t have a lot of time to commit to other things,” Wadden said.
Earlier this year, the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce sat down and looked at where the organization has come from, where it is now and where it should be going. In hoping to create the best path possible they hired former Mayor Christina Benty and Caleb Moss from Strategic Leadership Solutions to create new strategic initiatives for the organization. The process involved meeting with the business community and members of the Chamber and asking what their needs were and what the Chamber should be doing.
“Out of that process it was determined that while events like the Santa Claus Parade are loved by all, and enjoyed by many. It doesn’t add value to the business community and that’s essentially the mandate for the Chamber of Commerce, to add value to businesses and to help them thrive,” Wadden said.
It was then that they decided they would no longer do the community events like the parade and the Kicking Horse Dash on Canada Day. However, that doesn’t mean these events won’t happen.
“When we said we weren’t doing the event anymore it didn’t mean we were just dropping it off,” Wadden said. “We’re more than willing to work with any organization that’s interested to make sure that the transition is a smooth transition.”
Wadden mentioned that while they didn’t hold the Kicking Horse Dash on Canada Day this year, the organizations around town stepped up to the plate and the Canada Day festivities were successful. With that in mind, Wadden said she was confident that another organization would step forward to take on the Santa Claus Parade.
In fact, plans have already begun and the Santa Claus Parade looks like it’s still going forward.
Wadden met with the Agricultural Society on Monday about taking the event on and they felt it would be a really good fit for them. Having just put together the new haunted Halloween trail, they were looking for their next event.
In creating a new strategic initiative, the Chamber decided to focus their efforts in the area of advocacy, educating, and training and membership engagement.
The Community Excellence Awards will continue to be hosted by the Chamber as it is one of the biggest networking events of the year and adds value to the business community.
As for the parade, no official date for the parade has been set yet. While previous years usually had the parade around the end of November, Wadden says it will most likely happen around the middle of December to allow the transitioning of the event and the planning.
Due to the short notice of taking the event on and not having time to do a lot of fundraising, the Agricultural Society has set up a gofundme page to help with the funding of the event. To donate go to www.gofundme.com/saving-the-christmas-parade.