by John Copley
(ANNews) – On August 26, Edmonton-based Creating Hope Society (CHS) held the organization’s First Annual Golf Tournament with the theme “Dad’s Matter Too.” It was an 18-hole shot-gun start event that saw 16 teams compete for an array of prizes that included everything from jackets, mukluks and golf bags to gift certificates, hats, golf shirts, hoodies, sweaters, back packs, golf balls and much more.
The event, which took place at the Ranch Golf and Country Club (52516 Range Road 262 Acheson Industrial Park) attracted golfers, both experienced and novice, and came with an added bonus. The Ranch offered to pay a $2500 prize to any golfer who could score a hole-in-one on the seventh hole. Many tried but unfortunately no one could claim the prize; the closest ball to that hole landed about 15 feet away. The tournament itself was a big success; the fund-raising goal, however, wasn’t met.
“We didn’t raise the $20,000 we had in mind when we initiated our First Annual Golf Tournament, but we certainly did learn a great deal and feel confident that next year’s event will be even more successful than this one was,” noted CHS Executive Director Bernadette Iahtail, who co-founded the non-profit organization back in 2005. “Dollars aside, however, we had a great time; the feedback from the golfers has been very positive and we are already looking forward to 2016.”
This is the first time the organization has set up and operated a non-internal project as complicated as a golf tournament and Iahtail said lessons were learned and plans for future tournaments will be initiated earlier than later.
“It’s amazing at just how much work is involved to set up an event of this calibre,” she continued, “and we are very grateful for the extra help we received throughout the planning and organizing stages. We had some awesome support and we also came to realize that time is really a major factor in planning and organizing a golf tournament. Perdita Baier-Law and her husband Andy Law did an awesome job of organizing and helping in every aspect of the tournament; without their help this outing would not have been nearly as successful.”
Baier-Law organized the tournament and in doing so also played the role of chief-fundraiser, a task she proved to be very good at.
“Unbelievable, there’s no other word that can describe it,” assured Iahtail, who lauded the fundraising efforts and the success Baier-Law attained doing the work. “She knocked on doors, made lots of phone calls, sent emails and did whatever was necessary to make this initiative a successful one. She not only lined up the golfers and the golf course, she was also successful getting prizes from companies, corporations and organizations who wanted to help us out. We handed out more than 100 prizes; Perdita was the one who got them for us and we are truly grateful for all of her hard work.”
What changes will be made for upcoming annual golf tournament events?
“We will get the ball rolling earlier for the next go-around and that will help to ensure that we have a better opportunity to raise some of the extra funds we need to maintain our level of operation,” assured Iahtail. “No complaints this year though – we hoped for a good turnout and we got one; the golf course was beautiful, though challenging, and the people who looked after us over there were just amazing. The weather was good, the atmosphere was great, the steak dinner was delicious, the golfers were competitive and the day went well – what more could you ask for?”
The major prizes for tournament winners were broken down into first, second and third place teams with special prizes being handed out for six other challenges. Winner of the Men’s Longest Drive competition went to Harold Reimer; the Women’s Longest Drive was achieved by Amy Edwards. The Men’s Shortest Drive competition winner was Aidan Inglis with Crystal Beaverbones taking home the prize on the ladies challenge. Jackie Rain won the Ladies Longest Putt competition with a beautiful 40 footer while Yoo Sung took home the prize for the Men’s Longest Putt completion making his short from about the same distance.
First, second and third place winners included: First Place winners – Jim Graves, Patrick Hole, Darryl Duplessis and Irma. Second place went to Kelly Smart, Mike Fagan, Mark Charlbois and Jeff while Third place was awarded to Allan Emond, Harold Reimer, Ryan Coley and Andrea Yaremchuk.
The theme of CHS’s first tournament, Dad’s Matter Too, refers directly to Creating Hope Society’s goal of reuniting Aboriginal children back with their families, and working collaboratively to combat the social issues which plague Edmonton-residing families.
“We believe that Dad’s Matter Too and if they were recognized as being parents, there would be far less children in the care of the Child Welfare System today,” explained Baier-Law.
“Unfortunately,” noted Iahtail, “there just isn’t a lot of support for programs that help men or boys. We are working in earnest to convinced the community, the sponsors, the government and local and regional businesses and corporations to get involved with us. Men are family members too, and they are an important part of every family unit. Too many of our children are being cared for by strangers. As a Society, we are trying to bridge that gap; we are bringing information to the forefront and we are just a phone call away. CHS welcomes any inquiries from any individual, organization, business or corporation wanting to know how they can help make a difference.”
The Creating Hope Society was born as a result of the Sixties Scoop, a term that refers “to a phenomenon in Canada, beginning in the 1960s and carrying on until the 1970s, of unusually high numbers of Aboriginal children apprehended from their families and fostered or adopted out, usually into non-Aboriginal families. These children have since articulated their sense of loss: loss of their cultural identity, lost contact with their birth families, barred access from medical histories and for status Indian children, loss of their status.
The CHS mandate includes engaging in a process of reconciliation that will allow Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal caregivers to arrive at a new place of understanding that will end, forever, the historically devastating impacts of child welfare. For more information about the golf tournament or to learn more about CHS programs/initiatives visit : creatinghopesociety.ca or call 780 – 477 -7961. The Creating Hope Society is located at 9538 -107 Avenue in Edmonton.
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