Members come together to provide continued support for the Children's Home Society of Florida
The association’s annual Christmas tournament has been for many years a members-only, must attend event due to the two-man scramble format and great prizes available to the winning teams. The tournament is typically scheduled during the third week of December and is a great way for a large portion of our membership to gather for the golfing social event, which includes dinner and an awards presentation. While serving as secretary to the EGCSA board, I approached the board of directors about adding one more item to our event festivities, a gift drive for local children. I knew of a need for this due to my club being involved in an annual gift drive to benefit The Children’s Home Society of Florida Southwest Division the prior year. With the approval of the organization, via board discussion, the event has since been known as the Everglades Golf Course Superintendents Association Annual Christmas Tournament and Gift Drive.
The Children’s Home Society of Florida is the oldest non-profit provider of services to children and families in the state and provides Florida families with a spectrum of social services, including foster care, adoption, child abuse prevention, emergency shelters, group homes, case management, and treatment for developmentally disabled children. CHS makes a difference in nearly 100,000 Florida children and families each year. The Southwest Division of the Children’s Home Society was very happy to meet with us and discuss how we could make our Christmas gift giving efforts a success.
The EGCSA does all of the notification to its membership and event attendees regarding the gift drive. This notification is done on the event flyer and via phone calls and e-mails. We have also left a reminder on our event RSVP line that has been helpful in participation. We encourage appropriate gifts for a boy or girl that are within the ages of three to 10 years old. Our tournament attendees bring everything from bicycles to Barbie dolls. The Children’s Home Society sends representatives to the event to man a table at our registration area and these volunteers are able to personally thank those donating the gifts. Over the past few years, we have provided a raffle ticket to those donating gifts for each gift worth $10 or more. In the evening we are able to offer a prize, via a raffle ticket drawing, to someone that donated a gift that day. Recently, on December 15, 2004, we were fortunate to be supported by five sponsors, who each donated $100, so that two $250 cash prizes could be awarded to those lucky gift givers. Once all of the gifts are collected, the Children’s Home Society representatives usually fill a minivan or two and bring the gifts to their office location to plan for their distribution by Christmas morning.
Similar to many other organizations, the Children’s Home Society gift drive is based on the sponsorship of children at Christmastime. The gifts raised with the EGCSA donations go to fill the void if children are not sponsored or supplemented to those families with several needy children. Each year the EGCSA donates nearly 300 toys for children in need in our local community.
In addition to the gift giving, we also donated $4,000 to the Children’s Home Society in 2003, through the raffling of a 1969 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. The car was provided to me by the wife of a club member, here at The Sanctuary, who had recently passed away. After approaching her about the idea, she was very willing for the vehicle to go to the cause. Raffle tickets were sold for the car raffle and a total of $4,000 was raised. That night, following the golf tournament, the car was raffled and driven away by a winning recipient. A check for the $4,000 was provided to the Southwest Division Executive Director, Roseann Albertario, to close the evening events.
(Left to Right) Mark Shoemake, Asst. G.C. Supt., LaPlaya Golf Club, Naples; Greg Maze, CGCS, Golf Ventures; Odell Spainhour, G to Z Turf; Kyle Sweet, CGCS, The Sanctuary Golf Club; Roseann Albertario, Executive Director, Florida Children's Home Society ( Southwest Division ); Wayne Kappauf, CGCS, Island Country Club, Marco Island; Brian Beckner, Superintendent, LaPlaya Golf Club, Naples
The Everglades Golf Course Superintendents Association was founded nearly 30 years ago and today boasts the largest membership of any Florida superintendents association. Based in Southwest Florida, in Lee and Collier counties, the association is privileged to be sustained by one of the nation’s fastest growing golf course markets. With more than 100 golf courses in our local membership area, and many more under planning and/or construction, we have a growing and dynamic group of golf course superintendents and industry affiliates that has made everyone’s involvement in the association rewarding.
The success is due to proper planning and participation. Both the planning and participation are things that each superintendent’s chapter must have to be successful, so I believe that any association could be successful in the same way that we are with our annual event. I would encourage any other local superintendents chapter to combine a fund raising activity with an annual event to make a difference in their community.
Submitted by Kyle D. Sweet, CGCS, EGCSA Past
President, The Sanctuary Golf Club
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.