Forest Park Golf Course in Valparaiso was absolutely packed out July 8, 2010 for the 30th Annual Boy's and Girl's Club Golf Outing. Someone though forgot to tell the rain that it wasn't invited. 144 anxious golfers waited inside the clubhouse moments before the scheduled shotgun start for the pounding rain to pass by. But as quickly as the rain came, it left and green fairways and greens awaited the arrival of many golfers, balls, and golf carts. "We have a full, sold-out audience this year," said Chuck Leer, President of the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Porter County. "[The] golf outing has been full for about a month." That's impressive especially considering that to participate in the tournament, a sponsorship of anywhere from $150 to $1150 is required. Even in not-so-good economic times, Porter County steps up and realizes that the children in our county are worth paying the extra buck for.
I was able to step out on to the golf course myself once the golfing began. No, not to golf (that would be a sight!). But, to ask golfers why they really support the Boy's and Girl's Club. And, this is what some of them had to say.
"I think it's a great cause, and the younger you can get the kids involved in things, the better you are."
"It takes care of a lot of kids and keeps them out of trouble." - Bryce Billings, Mayor of Valparaiso from 1968 to 1972 and appointed the first committee to start the Boy's and Girl's Club in Valparaiso
"I was the 2nd boy of the year back in 1971. My kids went to it. My wife and I have been supporters of the Boy's Club for 30-some years now. You don't have to be elite, you don't have to have a lot of cash. It's very blue-collar." - Joey Larr, Valparaiso City Councilman
"Kids are important. Kids are our future. The Boy's and Girl's Club is important, because they help those kids that really need some help."
"Well, we support [the Boy's and Girl's Club], because the importance of kids in the area, to get acitvities to do while they're away from school. And, I'm sure it's a good friendship, character building club as well."
As you can see, Porter County has some big hearts and the golf outing wasn't really so much about golf but about having a good time with one another knowing that the people you're with support the same cause as you. "The Boy's and Girl's Club Outing has been successful for alot of years," explained Leer. "I'm not sure exactly why. I think one of the reasons is that people sincerely want to help the Boy's and Girl's Club. They think they've seen the benefit of our program throughout the years at our clubs throughout Porter County." And that benefit goes a long way with the the Boys' and Girls' Clubs in Porter County holding 5,000 memberships and nearly 1,000 members or kids attending the clubs every day.
If you would like more information on how to further support the Boys' and Girls' Clubs in Porter County, go to http://www.bgcpoco.org/ or call (219) 464-7282.
To see a video from this event, click here.
To see more photos, click here.