Roughing It Frequent Questions

Who is eligible to attend and participate?

Participants at Roughing It should be:

  • Anyone who raised at least $100 prior to the event, and
  • Adults or youth who are at least 19 years of age, and
  • Anyone who registered as a team member on the Roughing It website.
What is expected of participants?

Participants are challenged to raise critical funds and awareness in support of homeless youth. All participants are encouraged to fundraise with a goal of at least $500. Fundraising is made easy by way of a personal fundraising page on our website ( that includes tools to reach out to supporters. We hope participants will approach the event with an open heart and mind, and a willingness to work with others so that all youth in Nanaimo will always have a place to sleep. On event night, we hope participants will show up ready for an experience they will not soon forget.

How much are participants expected to raise?

We ask each participant to try to raise $500 (minimum $100 to attend the event).

What will happen on the night of the event?

Registration/sign-in for the event will open at 5:45 pm at Harewood Centennial Park (740 Howard Street). Activities get underway at 6 pm with an Indigenous welcoming and a brief explanation of what will occur throughout the evening. Participants will receive a welcome package, a meal ticket and information about the event. Pieces of cardboard will be provided later in the evening to all participants who will be “roughing it”. Do not bring tents as they will not be allowed into the venue, but please do bring sleeping bags and warm clothes (the average temperature is about 9 degrees in September). Don’t worry about weather – we are in a fully covered area and will be protected if it should rain. There are washrooms on site (not portables, but actual washrooms).

Activities will begin at 6 pm sharp and go until approximately 10 pm. We provide dinner, but we encourage participants bring some money as additional snack and food items will be for sale later in the evening.

Skid Row CEO Joe Roberts will share his journey from East Hastings to the Boardroom, and from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Joe was a homeless youth with a drug habit that changed his life — entering treatment, creating a successful software company and selling it and making youth homelessness his calling. He travelled from one coast of Canada to the other in 2017 to raise awareness and funds for youth homelessness.

There will also be a silent auction during the event with over 50 items, so for anyone wanting to start their Christmas shopping early, this will be a great opportunity. Some lucky bidders will spend the night on a bed or couch as they will be up for bidding before we go to sleep. Other activities during the evening will include live, not-so-loud musical performances, youth homeless trivia and hearing youth with lived experience tell about their time on the street. We will then “rough it” overnight.

Safety is our first and foremost concern and NYSA staff and contracted security personnel will be with participants throughout the night to ensure safety.

What should participants bring?

We suggest participants bring a sleeping bag, weather-appropriate layers of clothing, personal toiletries and medications, and a smartphone (use of social media during the event is highly encouraged). We will provide cardboard for all participants to sleep on. Don’t bring jewellery or other items that may be tempted to go missing.

How can people donate?

The best way to make donations is online at

Each participant has their own online fundraising page where they can direct their supporters to make a donation. The online system makes collecting donations easy, receipting instantaneous and goal tracking automatic.

Cash or cheque donations can be sent to:
Nanaimo Youth Services Association
ATTN: Roughing It
290 Bastion Street
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 4A3

Cheques should be made payable to Nanaimo Youth Services Association and you should include the name of the Roughing It participant that you wish to support.

How will people who donate get their tax receipts?

Receipts for online donations will be sent to the donor at the time of donation by email. A formal CRA-approved receipt will be provided after the event (and before the end of the calendar year) for all donations where we have an actual mailing address. Cash and cheque donations will also be receiving a formal receipt which will also be mailed to the donor before year-end. If you didn’t provide your address and require a receipt, please contact the office with your mailing information.