Candice Aitken cuts off her husband Cam’s hair at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre on Saturday. Aitken had his long locks cropped short to help raise funds for youth programs in Esquimalt. Cass Morgan photo

Esquimalt man shaves ginger locks in support of youth

Funds raised go towards three programs benefitting youth in the township

Cam Aitken knows how to turn a few heads.

For the past 15 years, the Esquimalt resident has been growing his long, flowing mane, only receiving a trim once every few months. Nicknamed “Ginger Jesus” by some of the township’s youth, Aitken has become known as the man with the curly, red hair.

“It’s helpful to be really recognizable with youth, then adults who are keeping their eye on their kids know who you are, there’s more recognition,” he said.

Aitken, 31, is director of The Community Youth, an organization that provides youth-related services in the township, including a breakfast program at Esquimalt High, mentoring and taking youth to camp.

The easily recognizable figure shed his image over the weekend, having roughly 16 inches of his hair cut off at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre, as part of a fundraiser for the Esquimalt Teen Centre, Esquimalt Church of the Nazarene and The Community Youth.

At the time of writing, 100 per cent of Aitken’s fundraising goal of $15,000 had been achieved. His stated plan for the donations is $10,000 to The Community Youth and $2,500 each for the Teen Centre and the Church of the Nazarene’s building fund.

Aitken’s decision to grow out his hair started in high school. After shaving his head for a rugby tournament, he decided to go from one extreme to the other. He only recently began toying with the idea of shaving it again and in January started a fundraising campaign for a cause that’s close to his heart.

“There’s a great need in the lives of youth right now, particularly. We see a large need in the area of family; there’s a lot of brokenness in the family,” said Aitken, whose religious beliefs were a big factor in his decision to begin helping youth. “I believe Jesus passionately cares for youth and I wanted to be a part of that passion.”

While he was sad to say goodbye to his mane, he admitted he won’t miss having long hair and the grooming that comes with it. “I think it’s more other people who will miss it, that’s how some people identify me,” he said, laughing.

Aitken’s locks will also be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society to make wigs. Donations can still be made to the youth programs at esquimaltcommunityyouthheadshave.ca.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Former Green candidate Veronica Greer running for seat on Esquimalt council

2017 B.C. election hopeful looks to bring LGBTQ lens to municipal politics

Green Team tackles weeds in North Saanich

Greater Victoria group working to connect people with local green groups

Sooke to host Western Canada’s first all-female boxing card

58 fighters from across North America to be featured at April 28 and 29 event

First Nation acknowledgement added to Sooke council agendas

‘It seems like something long overdue,’ says mayor

UPDATE: Two rescued after falling from ferry at Swartz Bay

One crew member is injured after rescue boat mechanism fails, causing it to fall from the ferry

New play examines Indigenous identity

Belfry Theatres Salt Baby coming to Victoria April 17 - May 13

Builder of Kinder Morgan reinforces concerns over project

B.C. heads to court over pipeline jurisdiction as builder says doubt warranted

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

Health committee cheers idea of national pharmacare program, but cost an issue

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says she fears costs could be far higher than $19 billion

Canada’s oldest blood donor says it’s all gain, no pain after decades of giving

Great-grandmother and Coquitlam, B.C., resident has been donating blood since the late 1940s

Union says Trump bullying threatens hundreds of B.C. pulp mill jobs

Fear mounts that new U.S. anti-dumping duties could price Catalyst mills out of business

B.C. real estate regulator to undergo NDP review

B.C. real estate agents were self-regulated until 2016, when BC Liberals appointed superintendent

B.C. pizza shop broken into 4 times in 2 weeks

A Vernon business owner is beginning to feel targeted

Man accused of Abbotsford school stabbing hearing voices, intensely paranoid

Lawyer says Gabriel Klein not fit to stand trial in May because of deteriorating mental state

Most Read