Doing it for the kids

Published on July 13, 2014

It’s a chance for ordinary Islanders to rub shoulders and hit the links with some of the Island biggest celebrities and some of well-known names in sport.

And it’s all for a good cause — ensuring the money is there to support programming for a large number of the city’s youth.

Monday marks the beginning of a busy three days for the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside, with its annual Celebrity Dinner at Credit Union Place Monday evening followed by its two-day annual Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Summerside Golf and Country Club Tuesday and Wednesday.

The list of celebrities who will golf alongside the 240 people registered for the tournament is impressive, including Summerside’s own two-time Olympic gold medalist Heather Moyse and teammate Kaillie Humphries, four-time Gold Glove winner and former Toronto Blue Jay Tony Fernandez, Toronto Maple Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf, Summerside native and Florida Panthers coach Gerard ‘Turk’ Gallant and hockey legends Bobby Hull and Ray Bourque.

For many of those paying the fee to golf, the draw to the event is more likely the thrill of meeting sports legends they admire.

Some may not even think about just how their round of golf, once said and done, will have a lasting impact on the community.

The money raised, an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 each year, will ensure that 80 or more children will have something to eat before heading off to school each morning. It will help fund summer camps, which see hundreds of children enrolled each year.

And, this year, the golfers’ efforts will help fund a centre aimed at keeping youth out of trouble, both with the law and with addictions.

The hope is that, with the help of the money generated, the club’s ambitious Youth Engagement Centre will open its doors later this fall and serve those aged 12 to 18, an age group currently not under the club’s umbrella.

But the next three days is about more than just sports icons and golf.

It’s also a time for the club to shine, to honour its own during with the presentation of the Boy and Girl of the Year awards, the Volunteer of the Year and to launch a new initiative — its very own clothing line.

The club under the leadership of its executive director, Adam Binkley, has grown and expanded numerous times over the past decade or more. And it continues to grow, expanding its offerings to the city’s youth.

By doing this, many youngsters have a place to play, something to eat and, as a result, the confidence and the tools to learn and thrive.

And, just maybe, they will be the ones to tee off in years to come and help youngsters just like them.