Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) hopes to raise money to mentor kids at a bowling marathon that will mix fund-raising with a good time -- for participants and spectators alike.
Last year, the event raised $41,000, which helped fund the organization which matches volunteers with kids who need a friend and mentor.
This year, organizers hope to sign up 80 five-person teams willing to pay $35 per person, plus a host of sponsors. The bowlers will compete to raise money for the organization, with the top fund-raiser winning a four-day cruise for his or her efforts.
It will be a night of friendly competition and camaraderie benefiting a good cause. "It's not about bowling. It's about having fun and fund-raising," said Robert Henley, BBBS director.
Established in 1904, BBBS recruits, trains and supervises volunteers who mentor children ages 6 to 18. After extensive background checks and interviews, the organization matches a mentor (known as a Big) to a child (Little).
"About a year and a half ago, we had 15 matches. We are currently at 57," said Henley. As the program grows, so do the applications to participate in BBBS.
"The Julia Randall Elementary School principal said he's getting a lot of parents coming in and telling him I want my kids to be involved in BBBS," said Henley.
Bigs offer their Littles guidance and act as positive role models in their lives. Payson's demographics provide BBBS with unique family dynamics. The community's children come from various lifestyles. That includes kids from single-parent homes and many for whom grandparents act as primary caretakers.
The Bigs, too, have their own stories. From high school students to, again, grandparents, Bigs take their roles of mentorship seriously while also showing their fun side to their Littles. Many Bigs feel encouraged with the positive development and growth in their Littles and continue mentoring. The rewards include seeing the impact on the kids and the chance to ease their worries, said Amy Hill, event chair for Bowl for Kids' Sake.
BBBS will host the seventh annual Bowl for Kids' Sake event at Rim Country Lanes, Sunday, Aug. 10. The bowl-a-thon will promote awareness and support for BBBS and its continuing efforts to provide mentorship programs for children.
"If you can keep one kid on the straight and narrow ... that's really what it's all about," Henley said.
On Aug. 10, bowling times will be 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. In addition, the event will feature laser bowling at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Last year, the nonprofit organization raised $41,000 in Payson alone, and all proceeds went to Payson's BBBS for the charity's operating expenses and mentorship programs.
This year BBBS will accommodate 80 bowling teams with five members per team. Each bowler is required to have a minimum of $35 in pledges. Novice or expert, group or individual, all are welcome to participate and encouraged to sign-up for the event.
The bowlers will compete to bring in pledges of support both as individuals and as teams, then just have fun bowling. Everyone gets a T-shirt. Prizes for the top fund-raisers include:
Prizes for Pledges (raised by individuals):
- Grand prize: four-day Baja Mexico Cruise
- Second prize: TomTom Navigation System
- Third prize: iPod Touch
Other prizes include (raised by individuals):
- $750 in pledges -- Kodak digital frame
- $500 in pledges -- iPod Shuffle
- $250 in pledges -- folding chair or barbecue set
- $50 in pledges -- Earth-friendly bag
Team effort prizes:
- Top Team Prize: $25 Chili's certificates per team member
- The following additional prizes will be awarded per bowling time session:
- Most spirited team
- Best dressed team (judged by costume, theme)
In its further fund-raising efforts, BBBS will gladly accept clothing donations for the Bowl for Kids' Sake event. If you forget to bring them to the bowl-a-thon, don't worry, you can always drop clothes off in a BBBS purple donation box located throughout the town, such as in front of Wal-Mart.
Sponsors of the event include the Roundup, PostNet, Rim Sight & Sound, Chapman Auto Center, Roy Haught Excavating, Inc., Payson Concrete & Materials Inc., Payson Regional Medical Center, Rim Golf Club, Chaparral Pines, Waste Management, Rim Country Lanes, Edward Jones, Wal-Mart, EAA, Payson Dental Care and many others are expected to participate.