Hundreds of golfers came together to tee off Saturday morning at Bear Mountain as part of the 21st annual Golf For Kids Charity Classic.
The tournament is one of the most successful single-day fundraising tournaments in the country, with proceeds supporting child and youth charities on Vancouver Island and the Help Fill A Dream Foundation.
Every year, about 20 dreams are filled, sending Island children and their families across the globe.
The tournament kicked off with a put from Poppy White, a 13-year-old who had her dream filled last year with a trip to France for herself and her family of eight. Her mother, Jenny, said it’s emotional and inspiring to be back at the tournament this year.
“It renews our faith in community and the support that everyone gives and the time that everyone gives,” Jenny said. “It’s pretty awe-inspiring for sure.”
Poppy, who loves soccer, said it was “cool” to see the games although she noted travelling with her family was a little “stressful.”
“We do not travel well,” Poppy said as her parents laughed beside her.
Both of Poppy’s parents said the chance to take the whole family to France was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“We’ve never done anything like that and we probably never will again,” her father George said.
This year, seven kids whose dreams were previously filled as a result of the golf tournament raised money to make dreams come true for other children. They raised funds through busking, bake sales, birthday parties, recycling bottles and more.
Before the tournament even started, the seven of them presented cheques that totalled over $17,000.
The 2019 event goal is to raise $1 million in one day for the third year in a row.
“This is kind of our Christmas Day,” said Craig Smith, the Help Fill a Dream Foundation executive director. “We’re in a position to make life a little easier for families and give kids some hope, something to look forward to.”
Before sending the golfers away for a shotgun start, one dream was filled for Jonathan Gingras, who was surprised with an electric bicycle.
Gingras could be heard saying he was “speechless” about the bike.
The Golf for Kids tournament has raised $6.3 million to date. This year, there is a total of 192 golfers in the tournament and 130 volunteers who helped make it happen.
The seven children who donated cheques at the event are keeping the fundraising going until Sept. 30 online, with a goal to raise $25,000.
To make a donation, visit https://www.helpfilladream.com/pay-it-forward/ or call 250-382-3135.