BRAWLEY – The cold morning of January 9 brought golf enthusiasts valley-wide to Brawley’s Del Rio Country Club for Youth for Christ’s Annual Golf Tournament. Put together with the help of nearly thirty sponsors, the tournament drew in ninety players, who came, despite the freezing outdoor temperatures, to have fun, fellowship, and win prizes.
Through the generous support of various sponsors and golfers, Youth for Christ (YFC) uses this tournament to raise thousands of dollars each year to fund their programs for the youth of the Imperial Valley. YFC is Imperial County’s largest youth organization independent of state and federal funding. Through their programs, the organization engages over 1,200 students on a weekly basis. According to YFC executive director, Jeremiah Vik, this is the fourteenth year of holding the annual tournament.
“This tournament is one of our major fundraisers,” said Vik. “The golf tournament makes up a good portion of our annual budget; so anywhere between a third and half of our budget is made through the golf tournament.”
When the golf tournament first began in 2002, YFC typically raised between $30,000 and $40,000. These days, it is between $90,000 and $110,000.
For all fourteen years, Del Rio Country Club has played host to YFC’s golf tournament. Country Club general manager and head golf professional Bob Gelesko has been seen many golf tournaments taken place at Del Rio; but this particular one stands out in a good way.
“They have a lot of unique little prizes that they give away and they have contests where they give everybody a chance to win something, so everybody gets a chance to win something when they come here,” said Gelesko.
One of the ninety golfers who attended, Mel Rebik, has been participating in this tournament for the past five years. When asked what he liked most about the tournament, Rebik replied, “The food, the fun, and the fellowship.”
At the end of the tournament, prizes are raffled so those unlucky on the course have a chance to walk away with something, while other prizes are rewarded to winning teams based on top scores. These prizes range from professional golf clubs to an autographed pro golfer set. Some were purchased, while others were donated by the sponsors.
Golfers were not the only people who attended this event. The tournament brought in student volunteers from YFC’s Valley-wide Campus Life ministries, ranging from junior high to high school. By volunteering their time in the event, the students raised funds allowing them to participate and attend different YFC events such as their annual SoulFire Winter Camp in Big Bear.
One of the key people involved was Jordan Tucker. Tucker was the golf tournament coordinator and has been doing so for six years.
“The biggest thing is I do a lot of talking with our sponsors and getting them involved,” said Tucker. “Getting an opportunity to see all of our sponsors come out and have a good time is rewarding. When it comes to people giving money, there’s really no connection between them and what is actually going on. This is an opportunity in several different ways, one, they get to come out and have a good time, get good food, and spend time with good people. The kids get an opportunity to volunteer their time and help out with the golf tournament and it gives them a chance to see the faces of people that they’re effecting with the proceeds,” added Tucker.
At the end of the day YFC managed to raise over $100,000 through this year’s tournament.[envira-gallery id=”70574″]