Not all my family's ideas start by conversing around a beer keg, but some of the best ones do. This was the case 15 years ago at the end of our family reunion at Ontario County Park. I had made my rounds talking with the relatives that I don't interact with regularly and had circled back to hang with some of the fun ones that I do. For some reason, in my recollection of it, I put a keg in there, though we don't normally have a keg at the reunions, but you can be sure of one thing, that there was beer involved.
|The Kays at an early tournament.|
The following spring we formed a family committee and approached the hospital with our idea. They were excited to have a tournament benefit them and pledged all of their support. The original tournament was held at Parkview Fairways and the date was the second Saturday in August, the day before our family reunion.
|Year 1, dinner under the pavilion|
This blog could run too long if I don't start talking about the specifics of the tournament, so let me break it down, starting with the sponsors and golfers. Our major underwriter to the tournament has been Pactiv in Cdga since year 3. They approached us, looking for a way to support the hospital, and an event that their employees could participate in. Each year we have 6-10 teams made up of current and former Pactiv employees. They had been a great partner, and we hope, even with the changes there this year, that they will be able to continue as our major sponsor.
|Pactiv Group, early on|
When the golfers check in, they run a gauntlet of sorts, to make it through registration. We first give them their tee gift and assign them carts. Each year we logo an item and each golfer receives one. We have done shirts, hats, umbrellas, coolers, camp stools, blankets, water bottles, and even pullover jackets.
|Registration year 2 or 3?|
The next stop is where we sell Mulligans. Each golfer can purchase 2 for $5 each and take a do-over when needed. Even with the hackers we attract, and in a tournament that doesn't have a Skins competition, most golfers buy 2. This contributes about $1,000 to the total each year.
The last stop is the merchandise raffle. We aim to collect $20 from each golfer for this station. It may seem like a lot, but in actuality it is a bargain for the golfers. My family spends many months approaching local businesses and collecting merchandise donations. We are so grateful for the hundreds of donors that choose to contribute to this raffle each year.
|Our first wenches|
Now for the math majors out there, you've noticed that we are short about $1,500 for our $10,000 goal. The last part of the tournament is a Cash Raffle. The tickets are distributed amongst family members months before the tournament and pre-sold to friends and acquaintances for $5 each. We finish the selling on the day of the tournament to the golfers and draw the winners at the end of the tournament. This generally makes up the last $1,500 of our $10,000 goal each year. In it's 13 year history the tournament has been able to donate over $120,000 to the CRD at Thompson Health, no small feat, but all due to the amazing loyalty of our golfers, donors, sponsors and workers.
I have to brag up on our workers a little. Since early on, the tournament has run pretty self sufficient from the hospital. They help with the initial mailings and some PR, but the tournament itself is staffed fully by family and friends. I'm proud that all of my family contributes in some way to the tournament, so I've taken care not to single out any individuals, in this blog. My siblings staff the registration tables, write the program, sell cash raffle tickets, golf, serve on the committee, collect merchandise, attract sponsors, babysit the day of the event for family members, take pictures of the teams each year, and even served as Beer Wenches. Non family members contribute too, we have a family friend who custom designs and carves the trophies each year, and that is one more unique thing about the tournament.
|Wenches, maybe year 7 or 8?|
A blog about the tournament wouldn't be complete without a mention of our new permanent location, Victor Hills Golf course. While the first course had it's charm, the folks are Victor Hills have been great partners for this fundraiser since year 2.
|Crowd at Victor Hills|
|Grumpy and I with the staff at the CRD.|
They have expanded their space 2 times, purchased exercise and monitoring equipment for the center, given training to their staff and most importantly, given scholarships to use the facility to those who could not have afforded to attend their programs otherwise. The work they do is incredible and if you live or work in Canandaigua NY, you likely have contact with someone that they have helped. I know, I certainly have. Well after we started the tournament I found out that my Uncle Charlie was the longest surviving patient that they had of the original people to go through the program, "The Magnificent Seven". I cannot think of a more deserving charity for our family's tournament.
So if you see this blog and have an interest in participating in any of the aspects of the Yarger Memorial, please feel free to contact us. We can be reached at PO Box 23 Hall NY 14463 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org We are continually looking for sponsors, donors, raffle ticket buyers, and golfers. I personally keep my eyes open for good beer wenches in my travels, although I am not longer allowed to interview them. When we started the tournament we had 3 goals. They were, to have fun, to make some money for the CRD, and to honor the memory of our relatives that had passed due to heart disease. I think in the 14 year run, we have kept our promise on all 3. Fore.
|Uncle George "Buddy" Kay|
|My Dad, Paul Cooper Yarger|
|Aunt Eleanor Kay Marvin|
|Uncle Charlie Yarger|