It was windy, rainy, and cold... a perfect night to go camping in December!

Around 600 people set up tents on the field at Ottawa’s TD Place Stadium Thursday night for one big, chilly sleep-over.

It was the fifth annual SleepOut for Youth, a fundraiser for the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa. Money raised goes towards housing and support services for Ottawa’s homeless youth.

“A thousand young people a night are out on the streets,” says Scott Lawrence, Chair of the Youth Services Bureau Foundation. “And bringing them off the streets and into shelters for the night is what we're all about here. And the funds that are raised here today are the ones that will be going into those services and programs."

Participants ranged from high school students to community leaders. Nina Von Schoenberg was there with her friends with the Glebe Community Centre. And what did she think of the prospect of staying outside all night? “Sounds like fun. Might be a little cold. I’m excited though.”

Patrick Fillier was there, not as a participant but as a guest speaker. The young man from North Bay has first-hand experience on the streets, a fate he wants to help others avoid. “The fact that I was in a shelter and I was homeless, the fact that I can bring awareness to homelessness, it brings joy to me,” says Fillier.

The event has grown to become the YSB’s single biggest fundraiser. This year organizers are hoping to raise $250,000. Donations can be made online.