Bear Tracks: Melting ice and warming hearts since 2014
Published: Jan 17, 2023
“Not another fundraiser!”
That’s how Kyla Lafreniere, Assistant Manager for Nutrien Ag Solutions in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada reacted in 2014, when her team was given two pallets of Bear Tracks Ice Melter – manufactured by Nutrien Solutions – and challenged to find a way to use the product to fundraise for local non-profits.
But her reluctance melted away quickly, and eight years later, she’s the lead organizer of a fundraising campaign that has become part of the fabric of the community – raising money for a range of organizations including schools, sports teams and animal rescue groups. In 2022, the 57 participating groups sold more than 20,000 pails of the product – a new record.
In recognition of her hard work, Kyla’s colleagues proclaimed her the “Ice Melt Queen” this winter, and it’s a title she embraces with both humor and honor.
“When your neighbor’s child comes to your door with cookie dough, you’re going to buy from them because you want to support them. If you’re anything like I am, the cookie dough goes into the deep freeze and gets tossed in three years when you clean out your freezer,” says Kyla. “Knowing that the Bear Tracks fundraiser offers a genuinely useful product while helping so many kids and people in the community warms my heart. The reason I am so passionate is because I truly believe in and support this fundraiser and the product we’re selling – I use it on my driveway at home.”
One organization involved in the fundraiser from the beginning, the Fort Saskatchewan Ukrainian Dance Club, is near and dear to Kyla’s heart. Kyla and her daughter have been involved with the group for 12 years, and over the years, the club has sold more than 7,000 pails of Bear Tracks Ice Melter.
“With this money, the dance club is able to keep fees at a reasonable rate for kids and adults that want to join. We have also invested in costumes and equipment, such as bars and mirrors to help the dancers see their posture and correct it,” says Kyla. “Ukrainian Dance has remained an affordable extracurricular activity for families to participate in because of this fundraiser. This fundraiser takes a village and I’m so thankful for all my coworkers who help make this possible for our community.”
Want to read more about the Beartracks fundraiser, check out this article from 2018. If you’re in the Fort Saskatchewan area and interested in participating in or purchasing from the fundraiser, please reach out to Kyla at Kyla.Lafreniere@nutrien.com.