Local teen participating in the 50 Yard Challenge

Bella Lawn Mowing

Bella Witt, of Three Hills, has become the ninth teen in Canada to participate in the 50 Yard Challenge. She was recently featured on CTV News Calgary for her efforts, as she begins this challenge.

The 50 Yard Challenge was started by a man named Rodney A. Smith Jr. in Alabama. He came up with the idea as a way to invest in the youth in his area, and to give them a way to invest their energy in a positive way to better their community. The premise is to have boys and girls aged 7-17 mow (or rake or shovel) 50 yards in their neighbourhoods, free of charge, to those most in need of assistance such as single moms, the elderly, and those with disabilities.

Bella’s mother, Jennifer, found an article about the challenge and asked her daughter if she’d be interested in participating. Bella reasoned that since her summer was slower than expected, and since it helped others, she might as well give it a try.

She submitted her interest to the organization, unsure if they had opened the challenge to Canada. The founder, Mr. Smith, replied that there were eight others in Canada participating, and they sent her a white t-shirt, and a PPE package including ear plugs, and eyewear. She is the first Albertan to participate. In August, the challenge had 1,293 kids participating, including kids throughout the States, and in Australia, Japan, South Africa, Germany, Canada, Sweden, the UK, Bermuda, and Sweden.

The challenge is set up like the belt system in karate; after every 10 lawns mowed she will receive a new coloured t-shirt to document her progress. At the conclusion of 50 yards, the founder of the challenge has promised to personally come to Bella’s door and present her with a brand new lawnmower, weed whipper, and leaf blower.

As of Friday, August 21st Bella had completed two lawns. She said “I’ve always really enjoyed helping people and I’d never mowed a lawn before but I tried it the other day for a family friend and I realized how much work it is and what all needs to go into it, and I realized how difficult it could be for people who are disabled or elderly, and that’s pretty much what the challenge is about so I thought yeah, why not, let’s do it.”

She hopes to get more lawns completed while it’s still summer, then in the fall plans to rake leaves, and shovel in the winter. Bella and her mother plan to post Bella’s availability online to get community members signed up or nominated who have a difficult time completing their yard work on their own.

Bella encourages other students to sign up to participate in the challenge, as it’s “a cool opportunity to get out and have something to do during Covid, while also helping others.”