On Jan. 15, Lacombe Big Brothers Big Sisters kicked off their 25th annual Bowl for Kid’s Sake.
Executive Director Crystal Zens said the program is the core fundraiser for the year and it is always well supported by the community.
“Lacombians have really good community spirit and have huge hearts,” said Zens.
Lacombe’s Bowl for Kid’s Sake campaign entails a number of bowling events.
There is the March 1st event at Ambassador Lanes followed by a number of school events featuring Wii bowling.
For the event at Ambassador Lanes, a number of teams, usually formed by local businesses, sign up to raise money and bowl.
Zens said that this year about 40 teams will be participating.
Each team raises at least $500 to participate in a night of bowling, raffles and overall fun.
Zens said each year there is a theme (this year is Mardi Gras) and participants are encouraged to dress to fit the theme. Prizes are awarded for best dressed and a variety of other things.
“Lacombe loves to dress up,” said Zens. “You wouldn’t believe some of the costumes.”
Children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program get involved too. Each of the teams ‘adopts’ one of children mentored by Big Brothers Big Sisters (called ‘littles’ by the program) for the night to bowl with and act as ambassadors for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Zens said this is a fantastic way for those outside to learn about the program and for sponsors to see where their money is going.
She added that it is great exposure for the program and is a good way to encourage people and businesses to participate in and support the program.
“We’ve actually scooped up some Big Brothers and Big Sisters that way,” said Zens.
She added it is also fun for the littles to talk about the experiences they have had with their mentors or ‘bigs’ as they are called in the program.
“The littles love to talk about their activities,” said Zens.
“Whether they got to go fishing or on a hike or camping with their bigs, that’s probably their favourite thing is sharing those moments.”
Bowl For Kid’s Sake has also become a team-building opportunity for many of the participating businesses, said Zens.
It serves as a fun night out with co-workers that goes to supporting a good cause.
In addition to the Ambassador Lanes bowling, Big Brothers Big Sisters runs a Wii Bowling event for participating schools in Lacombe and Blackfalds.
Students collect pledges from friends, family and the community and spend a lunch hour bowling on Wii consoles.
Big Brothers Big Sisters hopes to raise a total of $60,000 for their programming from Bowl for Kid’s Sake, $30,000 each from the bowling night and the school events combined, said Zens.
She added that Big Brothers Big Sisters also seeks out corporate sponsors for the campaign.
This year, Zens said there was a fantastic response to their corporate campaign.
Servus Credit Union has been named the title sponsor for the fourth consecutive year and Zens said a platinum sponsor and two gold sponsors have been obtained as well.
“It was a very successful kickoff.”
For 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a positive difference in the lives of the nation’s youth by developing and implementing a wide range of mentoring programs.
Serving as role models, mentors teach by example the importance of giving and giving back, of staying in school, and of having respect for family, peers and community.
Currently, more than 33,000 children are matched with volunteers in the mentoring programs.