Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial – Westmount Charter School Interact’s FastPitch
On November 20th, 2015 the Westmount Charter School Interact Club was hosted a 2015 Calgary High School FastPitch Innovation Competition.
A FastPitch is a high-energy, fast moving, quick-fire presentation, where participants share the mission, value, promise and structure of their own Non-Profit Organization – all under three minutes.
Based on several months of collaboration with the Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial and in partnership with the Club, Enactus Calgary and University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business – the 2015 Calgary High School FastPitch Innovation Competition took place on Friday, November 20 2015. This was the 2nd round and a Finale, with the Preliminary Round held at the Westmount Charter School a week earlier.
Over 20 students from several Calgary High Schools have gathered at the Haskayne School of Business for a Finale to present on a cause they are passionate about, and compete to win a Grant of $2,000 for their charities - to use towards implementation of their unique ideas.
Students could also choose to make a FastPitch on behalf of an established organization if they did not want to initiate their own: there were 3 of them to choose from – Calgary Can (local), Give a Mile (national) and Fontaine’s Children Charity Foundation (international).
In case the students chose to present on behalf of one of the established organizations, each of the organizations have provided a guiding question that needed to be addressed. The Pitch was to provide the most innovative, sustainable and effective solution to the given problem.
There were 8 competitor Teams and endless innovative, fresh and fantastic ideas. The Teams were competing to win one of the two $2,000 Grants: one dedicated to own initiative, and one to an established Organization.  The Team were:
  • Canadian Youth for Syria: while there is a lot of focus to help Syrian refugees with shelter and food on the table, Canadian Youth for Syria are focusing on providing entertainment to these  people in need in Canada. The idea is to organize an annual Summer Arts Camp, providing attending children with 3 days of a retreat and exposure to music, art and recreation.
  • Give a Mile (established organization: ) – the guiding question was: how can Give-a-Mile advertise and market their cause and unique donation structure to their target audience: credit card holders and frequent flyers?
  • Project Pulse: with focus on providing more connections to students who want to build their careers in Health Sciences.  So many students would like to be in Health Sciences yet do not have answers to their questions and eventually decide to take another career path. The project is on organizing conferences where interested students can have an opportunity to speak to teachers and practicing physicians etc. to have their questions answered and enthusiasm fuelled.
  • Project Mendable: this idea is built on first-hand knowledge of living conditions of people in a South Africa town, where average daily temperature is 12C and 1C overnight and homeless people do not have proper clothing for the weather conditions. The project focuses on donation of clothing to the Town’s local Church, where it will be mended and distributed to people in need.
  • Fontaine’s Children Charity Foundation (established organization: ) – the guiding question was: how can FCCF create a unique social media platform presence that highlights the lives and experiences of the Mozambique street boys that they support?
  • The Ripple Initiative – this organization’s objective is to raise awareness on lack of clean and safe water supply in some countries. Their work includes the Annual Water Box day where they raise funds to send a student to a country that has issue with clean water supply so they can experience the daily lives of those communities first hand as well as assist those communities with what they can during those visits.
  • Play It Forward – focused on providing lower income families with easier access to sports facilities. Have representatives across Canada and are looking to patent their idea and work together with municipalities to implement the idea.
  • Calgary Can (established organization: ) - the guiding question was: how can Calgary Can help Calgarians understand the value bottle pickers bring to society.
All the Pitches were so incredibly fascinating, well presented and innovative – it was very difficult to pick a winner for each category.
The Panel of Judges consisted of Dr. Sarah Skett of the Fig Tree Foundation, Dr. Robert (Bob) Schulz of UofC Haskayne School of Business and Larysa Troyanovska of the Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial. The Judging Rubric was focused on Sustainability/Business side (planning and sustainability, clear financial direction, presentation skills), Societal Impact (creates positive change, there is a purpose and a demand, the impact is significant and noticeable) and Creativity/Innovation (originality and uniqueness of the idea, realistic and attainable, powerful and has a clear venture plan).
The winners were selected and announced the same evening:
  1. For own Non-Profit Organization: Canadian Youth for Syria - $2,000. The recipients plan to allocate the funds to purchase equipment, arrange for a venue, music, art, meals etc.
  2. For an Established Organization: Calgary Can - $2,000. The recipient is planning to arrange for an education system to bring out the value of the bottle pickers in Calgary and their positive impact on the society and environment.
There was also a surprise prize awarded to:
  1. Project Mendable - $500. The recipient has a very clear business plan and established communication with the participating business and charity in South Africa to make the project happen and clearly outlined the pros and cons of the project.
It was wonderful to see the event organized so smoothly and with such sincere enthusiasm. This great initiative not only enables realization of some great projects, but also serves as a fantastic networking opportunity between different schools, University and non-profit organizations! It is great to know what enthusiastic, motivated and involved youth there is in Calgary and no doubts they will work on making the world a better place – one day at a time.