BRAWLEY— A day after rain poured over the Imperial Valley, golfers played to raise funds for a youth ministry Saturday morning at Del Rio Country Club in Brawley.
Jeremiah Vik, Youth for Christ’s executive director, said the group’s 15th annual golf tournament, a major fundraiser for the year, was attended by more than 60 avid golfers who had to adapt their game to the damp greens.
Trevor Tagg, who has been playing golf since he was six-years-old, said, “The green is a little bit softer and the ball doesn’t go as far which, in our team, is an advantage. We started on 15 and I chipped in on the very first hole. We had two more birdies since then.”
His teammate, Charles Kemp, who played in the very first YFC tournament 15 years ago, said, “I had to wear my golf cleats so that I wouldn’t slip.” Indeed, the grass was damp, but golfers had to exert extra caution maneuvering their golf carts as they drove from one area to another.
“Golf players will play in most kinds of weather,” said Vik. And according to an employee at the golf club, the game is cancelled whenever there is lightning or flooding.
Golfers came in for registration at 7:00 a.m. and were offered a burrito breakfast, coffee and water. Fifteen minutes before the start, Vik welcomed the 23 teams and led an opening prayer. Each team had three players.
At 8:30 a.m., the sound of a starting pistol from PGA Pro Bob Gelesko signaled the start of the tournament and prompted players to drive their golf carts to their designated areas to tee-off. Drinks were available on the course, and a taco cart started serving at 10 a.m.
Volunteers from Youth For Christ were available to assist golfers on the course. According to Vik, the number of volunteers was fewer this year since some of the volunteers had to accompany youths to a conference at Biola University in Los Angeles.
Vik said prizes for this year were chosen to cater to the needs of golfers. “We really focused on prizes that golf players would appreciate. We have some top of the line golf clubs and equipment.” In addition, each player was given a high quality t-shirt.
YFC, Vik said, is a ministry targeted at youth in Imperial Valley. “Our ministry is to reach young people for Jesus.”
The task may seem daunting, but with the help of volunteers their mission is achievable, he said. Currently, YFC has several areas of missions. Campus Life reaches out to students in 24 school campuses throughout the Valley; Parent Life works with pregnant and expecting teenagers; a juvenile hall chapel; plus Radio Station 95.3 FM, The Edge.
“Altogether, with all our clubs operating, we work with about 1,200 students a week,” said Vik. “It takes a lot of volunteers to run it. We have volunteers that spend 4-6 hours in a week. We get volunteers from churches and youth groups because they already have a heart for young people. We also have parents and older people that participate.”
Vik expressed his gratitude to community and business benefactors. “This tournament was made possible with the help of local farmers and businesses. We couldn’t do it without their support.”