Team Set to Summit Mt. Baldy, Raise Funds for African Nation By Hollie Reina

A group of Glendorans and other locals will join hikers around the world on June 25, 2011 as they summit some of the highest peaks in the world all in an effort to raise funds and promote global awareness for the impoverished African nation of Swaziland.

‘Summit 4 Hope’ began with the idea of  climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa  and soon spread to include hiking teams from Taiwan, the United States, Canada and Swaziland all hiking on behalf of an organization called ‘Heart for Africa.’

‘Heart for Africa’ is a Christian faith-based non-profit dedicated to “providing care and hope for a future for children in [the] small African nation [of Swaziland].”

While the AIDS epidemic has left an estimated 200,000 orphans in a country the size of New Jersey and an average life expectancy of 29 years, children are the primary focus of ‘Heart for Africa’ and their many programs.

Programs such as Project Canaan that will help create self-sustainability through farming as well as create income through export and provide education to both children and adults.

According to one of the team leads Sarah Barron of Southland Properties in Glendora, funds raised from the Summit 4 Hope climb will directly benefit three important builds under the Project Canaan banner. The El Roi baby home, a home for orphaned children. The occupational training building. And the ISO building which is an agricultural facility built to package and store food.

Team California which will summit 10,068 ft. Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy) is being led by Glendora resident Wolfgang Buehler. Under his direction several teams of hikers will climb one of three routes to the top of Mt. Baldy where a picture of all the hikers will be taken with the ‘Heart for Africa’ flag.

Buehler, a local business owner said of his involvement with the program, “I’m proud, honored and humbled to be able to assist heart for Africa in helping so many deserving orphans or deserving people.”

Several local organizations have organized groups to hike including, Glenkirk Church, Glendora Ridgerunners, Glendora Village business owners and more.

Zack Swire of Swire Marketing Inc. in Glendora will be leading Team Swire.

Swire, who had always wanted to be involved in philanthropy, spent a great deal of time searching for a project that, as he said, “was not just throwing our money at something.”

Summit 4 Hope clicked with him on a number of levels.

He believed in ‘Heart for Africa’ and the people involved. “Their heart is really there,” he stated.

Swire also liked the physicality of Summit 4 Hope. The idea that you could motivate yourself to do more both physically and charitably was a key reason for his involvement in the summit project.

Mt. San Antonio, more commonly known as Mt. Baldy, is the tallest mountain in the San Gabriel range and in Los Angeles County. Summit hikes will be offered at three different levels and distances including, a 2.5 mile, a four mile and an eight mile hike.

All hiking mileage is measured one-way and the hikes are not considered easy. The shortest route according to Swire is the equivalent of doing Garcia trail twice. The longest route will gain 6,000 feet in elevation en route to the summit.

Team California hopes to have all of its hikers reach the top of Mt. Baldy by 11 a.m. in order to do a group photo shoot.

The collective worldwide goal for Summit 4 Hope is to raise $150,000. Team California will attempt to raise $20,000-$30,000 of that by registering hikers ($35 or $50 with a t-shirt and wristband) and by collecting donations/hiker sponsorships.

June 25 hikes will also take place on the following world peaks:

  • Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340′) the tallest mountain in Africa.
  • Mt. Jade (12,966′) the tallest mountain in Taiwan.
  • Mt. Hope (3,727′) the highest point at Project Canaan in Swaziland.
  • Mt. Elbert (14,433′) in Colorado, the second tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.
  • Mt. Mauna Kea (13,796′) the tallest mountain in Hawaii
  • Mt. Brasstown Bald (4,784′) the tallest mountain in Georgia.
  • Heart Mountain (7,005′) in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

To join a hiking team and register to hike or to make a donation to Summit for Hope you can visit http://summit4hope.eventbrite.com or email Zack Swire at zack.swire@goswire.com.

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