Crowe Interact teens are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a carnation sale and delivery during class Friday. Seventeen-year-olds Jesse Bartsoff and Cassidy Martin were checking out the loot at Ferraro Foods

Valentine’s Day carnations delivered in the name of love and fundraising

Carnations will help raise funds to send Trail and Rossland Interact students to Cambodia for volunteer work.

Romance will be in the air at J. L. Crowe Secondary School this Valentine’s Day as carnations with an endearing note will be hand delivered to lucky recipients during class.

But there is a larger meaning behind Friday’s loving gesture as the money raised through operation carnation will go toward sending 20 Trail and Rossland Interact students to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for volunteer work for two weeks this summer. Three chaperones, including a trip organizer will join the students in this trip of a lifetime.

“There’s a lot of volunteerism throughout developing countries in the world but Cambodia is sort of the one that receives less aid and we felt that there was a lot more opportunity for an impact there,” said Trail Interact Club president Jesse Bartsoff.

Bartsoff has been involved in the club for three years and sees the teen rendition of Rotary as a great stepping stone to future volunteer work.

“I really like it because it teaches Rotary’s motto, ‘service above self,’” he said. “I find even if kids don’t have that sort of mindset when they come in, by the time they’re done with Interact I think it helps them gain a volunteer-oriented mind.”

Money raised at various events this year will help pay for $1,500 of the $2,500 trip each student will fork over.

Other fundraising initiatives include selling Valentine’s Day cupcakes and water during tonight’s Crowe Variety Show’s intermission, an upcoming spring flower sale, pushing the World’s Finest Chocolate door-to-door around Easter and a car wash earmarked for the spring.

Trail is joining forces to put on Rossland Interact’s annual golf tournament at Redstone Resort, too, which is planned for sometime in May.

The two clubs are pulling together on a number of initiatives this year as a team building exercise in preparation for the trip at the end of June.

“We’re helping to refurbish a school and then we’ll be teaching there a bit and just sort of helping where we can because most of the kids are orphans and so it’s nice to have people to interact with,” explained Bartsoff.

The group will also get to take in Angkor Wat, a temple complex that is the largest religious monument in the world.

The students are preparing for Third World conditions with plans of immunizations prior to the trip and few amenities where they’re staying once they get there.

“At the guest house where we’re staying there’s power but they’ve warned us of rolling blackouts so we’re prepared to have lanterns lit at night if that happens and cold showers just because energy costs are too high,” added Bartsoff.

To find out more about upcoming fundraising initiatives, contact Bartsoff at

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