“Penticton Top 40 under 40 is presented by Prospera Credit Union in partnership with the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and JCI Penticton, with support from White Kennedy LLP Chartered Accountants”
“My inspiration comes from the hard work, leadership and mentorship roles that I have the fortune of being in. Helping people is the main focus of what I do. I want to empower everyone I meet to reach their own fullest potential,” says Travis Kruger, this week’s Top 40 Recipient.
Travis was born and raised in and grew up on the Penticton Indian Band Reserve, learning from the many teachers and elders at his disposal. Family, friends and the community of Penticton have always been and continue to be significant priorities in his life. Travis attended the University of Saskatchewan and has a diploma in Indigenous Peoples Resource Management and has earned his Certified Lands Manager status through the National Aboriginal Land Managers Association.
Travis was elected to Penticton Indian Band Council in July of 2010, holding first the Taxation and Financial Portfolio and after being re-elected in 2012, the Natural Resources Portfolio. He is regularly active in the Penticton Indian Band community outreaches including cleaning up roadsides to beautify the Reserve, volunteering, and chaperoning. Through his role as a band council member, he has been involved in creating the Apex Protocol Agreement between the PIB, Apex Mountain Resort, the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the Upper Similkameen Indian Band. He has also participated in the Gap Analysis study for the Summerland Golf Resort and took part in the National Parks Feasibility Study.
“Community is about belonging. It is a constant reminder that we are not alone in this world. Being a part of a community makes it easier to work towards a common goal for the greater good,” Travis states, “My overall goal is for Penticton to flourish and bring back the tourism we used to enjoy long ago. There has been some bumps in the road and I believe that if we learn from our mistakes and move forward together that we can achieve those numbers again in a safe and positive fashion.”
Active in the community, Travis has been involved in several community programs. He is a positive role model for the Kwu sukwna’qinx Canoe Family which have been on several Pulling Together Journeys (First Nation Youth, RCMP, DFO, VPD) around the province, as well as on a trip to Scotland to canoe in the Orkney Islands. He attends Okanagan Nation Hunting and Gathering camps to aid in providing for elders, single mothers, and families in need that cannot hunt or gather for themselves, as well as passing on traditions to the next generation. In November of 2011, I travelled to New Orleans, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, to build houses for the Hurricane Katrina victims.
“The most significant obstacle I have overcome is believing in my ideas and myself. When my family set out to find a new tenant for the former Happy Hour Campground we had many proponents pitch ideas and let us know that their idea was the best and would make us the most money,” says Travis. “My idea was simple: I wanted to make the south entrance of Penticton beautiful and I wanted an establishment that complimented the professionalism of Wright’s Beach Camp. It took many years and in the end it came together in the form of Barefoot Beach Resort.” Travis feels it beautified the southern entrance, created buzz about Penticton, was a unique experience for patrons, was all about being green and the carbon footprint on one’s holiday experience.
What advice does Travis have for other young entrepreneurs? “Trust in yourself, set goals, be accountable and don’t be afraid to fail. Far too many people believe it when they hear ‘that will never happen’ or ‘you can’t do that’. These are limitations that others put on you because they are afraid to take risks and put themselves out there. Push beyond their limitations and prove to yourself that you can do what you put your mind to.”
Lastly, Travis leaves us with the following advice, “Always surround yourself with positive and uplifting people. They make the hard times easier to get through and make the good times even better.”