Profile: A For Adventure

How two like-minded adventurers hope to foster a movement—starting with a children’s book.

Credit: Jessie Harold

By Jessie Harrold

“A” for Adventure is a children’s book, a message and a movement emerging at a time when—according to founders Jan Lapierre and Chris Surette—kids and families need it the most.

Penned by LaPierre, the book takes readers on a whirlwind of adventures, big and small, one letter at a time. At its heart, the book encourages us to get outside and explore, and to find adventure in the everyday.

When LaPierre teamed up with Surette, a marketing professional and fellow outdoors enthusiast, the two took the message of A for Adventure beyond the catchy rhymes and beautiful illustrations in the book. As Surette says, “we want to create a conversation about adventure and the many benefits we feel come from an adventurous lifestyle. And that doesn’t have to be climbing a mountain, or going on expeditions. Adventure can be playing in your own backyard.”

The pair met back in 2013, when Surette supported LaPierre and his friend Graham Carter as they paddled 200 km from mainland Nova Scotia to Sable Island, raising more than $30,000 for a mental health program at the Brigadoon Children’s Camp. As they were returning home from the expedition, LaPierre shared the A for Adventure idea, and Surette was immediately excited about the possibility of making the book a reality.  

Published in the fall of 2015 with the help of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, A for Adventure rings off catchy rhymes like: “Q is for quest, to bring out your best, because often adventure can be quite a test. But you can do anything if you believe in yourself, because challenging things are good for your health.” 

“Our goals are always about inspiring creativity, curiosity and resilience,” says LaPierre. “That is the driving force behind the book.” LaPierre works in the field of mental health and addiction, and describes himself as a “one-trick pony” whose endeavours centre on highlighting outdoor adventure as a mechanism for building resilience and mental wellness.

The A for Adventure movement has gained a significant amount of momentum since Surette and LaPierre launched a social media campaign more than a year ago, challenging followers to partake in 100 Days of Adventure with the hopes of encouraging people to get out and explore on a daily basis. The pair quickly found that their message resonated with the public, and they were invited to record a weekly adventure-based feature on CBC Radio One Halifax. More recently, the pair has teamed up with Parks Canada, and is spending time travelling around the country to create video content that showcases our spectacular national parks. That aspect of their work will continue into 2016, when they plan to do a mostly human-powered and entirely adventure-powered cross-country book tour, stopping at Parks Canada locations along the way.

For now, Surette and LaPierre are thrilled to have the book hit the shelves. In keeping with their motivation to foster resilience in youth and contribute to the elimination of stigma around mental health challenges, the pair offered their Kickstarter supporters the opportunity to donate a copy of the A for Adventure book to the Brigadoon Children’s Camp. The camp will be welcoming 146 copies to their bookshelves for campers to enjoy as a result.