Every year, The Valley Echo selects a community organization to receive the proceeds from its annual charity golf event — the Giving Back Golf Tournament. The Invermere branch of the Special Olympics, which has seen a tremendous amount of success since it was established in 2009, was the recipient in 2010.
Originally starting off with just three athletes, the program now supports nine concurrent athletes in their ski and swim programs. Their ski program, now closed for the season, has proven especially popular and co-ordinator Kim Turgeon says that, overall, the program has been very well-supported.
“We’ve done really well so far, the community has been really giving,” she said.
The branch relies on grants from local organizations and fundraising activities to fund costs like lift tickets and equipment rentals. The 2010 Giving Back Golf Tournament saw over $11,000 raised for the branch, some of which is still waiting in reserve in case the program wants to send their athletes to competition or other events. Much of the funding went to buying or renting equipment for their ski and golf programs. In the future, Turgeon said they’d also like to buy new ski jackets for some of the athletes so they can stay out on the hill a little longer.
“That was our first big fundraising activity we had done, and we were shocked with the results,” she said.
This year, the 2012 Giving Back Golf Tournament takes place on Sunday, June 24 at the Windermere Valley Golf Course. The Rotary Club of Invermere has been selected as this year’s recipient, and the club plans to use the donation to help fund a new community waterpark at Invermere’s Kinsmen Beach. Sign up for the tournament at the The Valley Echo building located at 503 13th St. in Invermere.