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Rising to the occasion: Innisfil teen makes, gives out cake kits

Nathan Brennan came up with the idea while attempting to earn the Chief Scout Award, which requires the completion of a community-oriented service project

Innisfil resident, 14-year-old Nathan Brennan is on a mission to make special events for children in the community a little sweeter.

As a member of Scouts Canada, Nathan needed an idea that could serve as the foundation of the capstone project as he continues to earn his Chief Scout Award, which requires the completion of a community-oriented service project. He knew he was onto something when they came up with the idea to create cake kits.

“In conversation with Ms. Boken at Christmas for Kids, I learned that there are many youth locally that go without cakes to celebrate significant events in their life,” Nathan said.

With that, he set out to create cake kits for special occasions such as Easter, Thanksgiving and birthdays.

“I learned you can bake a cake with just a cake mix and a can of pop. The kits are shelf stable, and each kit contains everything needed to make a cake,” Nathan said.

“Each kit contains a box of cake mix, a can of icing, a can of pop, and sprinkles. The birthday cake kits also contain candles and a card. These kits come packaged in the pan to bake it in. I also included written instructions and a QR code to a YouTube video I made on how to make the cake. The other kits have Easter or Thanksgiving decorations in them,” he said.

Nathan told InnisfilToday that when he experimented with combinations of cake mixes and sodas, he found that root beer and chocolate cake mix was his favourite, while vanilla cake and Mountain Dew was a close second choice.

“Ms. Boken asked me to make 110 kits,” Nathan explained. “Thirty-five Easter, 35 Thanksgiving and 40 Birthday. Thanks to the discounts provided from Sobeys, and my generous (donors), we have raised enough to make these 110 kits, and enough money is left over to do it once again at a later date.”

Christmas for Kids president Myrlene Boken says Nathan's project "has set a high standard for youth engagement, demonstrating how innovative ideas can address everyday challenges and foster a stronger community spirit." 

"He involved the entire scouting group in the process and organized the project well, including a code that led to a video on how to make the cake," she said. "We are delighted to have been the recipients of his cake kits, it was a huge help to us."

His efforts are being recognized internationally.

“My former neighbour who was a long-time Scouter caught wind of my project online. Although I was quite small when she moved back to the (United Kingdom), she has always been interested in my Scouting adventures and was eager to support me," Nathan said. "My project was advertised on social media, and I received donations from the UK, the USA, and (throughout) Canada. I was quite surprised at how this cause affected people. The power of social media is amazing."

Nathan’s father, David Brennan, said his family has lived in Innisfil for nearly two decades, and they have made donations to Christmas for Kids in the past.

“Nathan's charitable effort fills me with a sense of pride. He is a very compassionate youth when it comes to others' well being,” David said. 

Midland's Georgian Bakery donated sprinkles and Sobeys Alcona Beach gave pop and provided a discount on the remaining supplies, Nathan said. 

Nathan has been involved with Scouts Canada since the age of five, as he was both a beaver and a cub before he was a scout. He plans to continue with the organization as a Venturer Scout when he turns 15 years old.

“I also need to thank my fellow Scouts, Cubs, and Scouters in the 2nd Innisfil Scouting Group for helping me assemble these 110 kits in one evening at a Cub meeting.”

To learn more about Christmas for Kids, check out its website.

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Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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