In lieu of its traditional, well-attended golf outing to raise funds and awareness for the programs and services it offers, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana took a different approach in 2020, offering supporters a unique way to safely enjoy golf and Club members a fun way to get involved.
This year’s golf outing alternative offered sponsors who wanted to continue to support the organization the chance to purchase a Golf in a Box, which included a sleeve of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls, craft beer, golf wearable, and a certificate to golf at one of three local premier courses, including Briar Ridge, Sand Creek, and Valparaiso Country Club.
Part of the re-imagined concept also included a competition between several Clubs to design and create their own miniature golf courses. Club members at Portage, Duneland and the John Will Anderson Club in Gary created physical courses, and Club members at South Haven, Valparaiso, Cedar Lake, East Chicago, and Hammond Boys & Girls Club created virtual courses through Minecraft.
Orlando Drummond, Director of Grant Operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, was nearly brought to tears seeing all of the hard work the kids put into their courses.
“Watching them come together and put this all together, it kind of invigorates me as a professional and as a parent, especially in the world today,” Drummond said. “It’s a real tear-jerker for me to see these kids be so inspired and empowered through our vision and mission.”
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the continuous and generous help of local sponsors, including presenting sponsor CAPTRUST. Marina Kirova, Portage Club Program Director, made sure to thank each of them for their support. It was also Kirova, a 10-year Boys and Girls Clubs veteran, who helped create the idea for a DIY mini-golf course.
“DIY STEM is a huge thing in our club. The kids jumped on board before I even had the chance to ask,” Kirova said. “I love the ah-ha moment with the kids when I teach them something. It’s so satisfying to see the kids know what they’re doing while learning and having fun at the same time.”
Orl’an Drummond, 11, has been involved with the Portage Boys and Girls Club since she was 4 and has loved every second of it. Her favorite part of the mini-golf course building process was designing.
“We got to think about what colors and patterns worked together with what architecture. It was nice,” Orl’an said. “This was kind of like an extra program on top of what we usually do and I think it’s a great experience.”
Dylan McKee, Director of External Affairs for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, typically writes grants, which Orlando then implements. This time, though, he stayed closer to the process and couldn’t be more proud to see how it all came together.
“It’s really cool to see everything come to life and actually see them create and build something with the money they were given,” McKee said. “It’s awesome to see the kids take the initiative and have it publicly displayed.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana invites the public to vote for their favorite courses! Voting ends at 5 p.m. July 28. Visit www.bgcgreaternwi.org/golfinabox to vote!