Arts and Entertainment

Raining golf balls boost Big project

Forecast for Aug. 29, 2009: It will rain. It will rain golf balls, to be exact, from the skies over the Useless Bay Golf and Country Club on South Whidbey.

At the first annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Helicopter Golf Ball Drop, thousands of golf balls will be scattered on a target on the golf course. The ball that lands closest to the target is the winning ball and its owner will walk away with $1,000 in cash.

You could be a winner if you buy one of the raffle ticket for the event. Tickets costing $5 each are now on sale at Useless Bay Golf and Country Club, the Big Brothers Big Sisters offices in Langley and Oak Harbor, and they’ll be available at various outdoor events such as Choochokam and farmers markets.

The funds raised will support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County’s mission to match children with mentors from the community.

“This program really makes a difference,” said Carol McNeil, BBBS board president. And she should know. For almost seven years she has been matched with her “Little” Kelsey, who is now in high school.

“I can’t imagine not having Kelsey as part of my life for the last seven years. I have watched her grow from a goofy and lovable 9-year-old into a smart, talented and beautiful young woman,” she said. “Being a ‘Big’ is a small investment to make for such a significant return; it can mean the world to someone. It has meant the world to me.”

The agency offers school-based and community-based programs on both South Whidbey and North Whidbey. Volunteers are matched up with kids between the ages of 6 to 14 who are willing to build a positive, caring friendship.  

In the past 10 years, the agency has matched nearly 2,500 children. But many more are still waiting for a Big.

“Your contribution, each golf ball you buy, helps us reach another child in our community,” McNeil said. “And we won’t stop until all children on Whidbey who want a Big Brother or Big Sister have been matched.”

The fundraiser will be a community celebration.

And the spectacular highlight will be when a helicopter will release the balls over the golf course.

“All eyes are glued to the field where the helicopter is making its ascent, until it’s hovering high in the air with its huge net of golf balls ready for the drop,” McNeil said, described the event. “Someone is going to win some cold hard cash, and the anticipation is palpable. Finally! The load is released and as the golf balls fly through the air towards the target the cheers of the onlookers are heard for miles.”

There will be food, golf-related games and other fun activities. You don’t have to be present to win. For more information, call Peggy Dyer, BBBS executive director, at 279-0644, email, or visit

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