Big Brothers Big Sisters Festival of Trees goes online

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County’s biggest fundraiser is online this week.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County’s annual Festival of Trees will follow the digital trend and present a virtual program for its silent and live auctions this week.

The silent auction began on Dec. 1 and continues until noon on Dec. 7. The live auction will be broadcast online 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4.

Pivoting to a virtual program was not easy, said Executive Director Tiffany Scribner.

“It’s been a pretty massive undertaking,” Scribner said, adding that the logistics of finding an auctioneer and production company and photographing every auction item required a high level of effort.

Auction items can be viewed on the 2020 Festival of Trees website, and people can bid on decorated trees and centerpieces online and preview live-auction-only items.

There are 12 trees up for auction, each decorated with a theme and paired with items like a trip to a local vineyard or a ticket to a local nursery, Scribner said.

There is a different make-up of auction items this year than in years prior because of the pandemic’s affect on local businesses, and some items like travel packages aren’t up for grabs. Also, there is no 10-foot tall tree since it’s usually purchased by a business, Scribner explained.

However, there is an emphasis on local experiences, and Scribner said the organization was thankful for these donations this year. Notable live-auction-only items include a glassblowing experience for two at Calcifer Glass, a year of facials from Melissa York Studio and a seafood feast from Penn Cove Shellfish.

The group’s fundraising goal this year is $165,000, which represents more than half of its budget to support its mission to connect young people with adult mentors.

Like the auction, Big Brothers Big Sisters has also transitioned to more digital interactions in its day-to-day interactions.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a major decrease in volunteerism this year,” Scribner said.

The need is particularly great for male mentors, which is common nationwide for the organization, she said. Pairs, called matches, have still been able to connect this year and have done outdoor visits and virtual meetings as public health guidance has evolved.

“We’ve served about 65 matches this year. That’s down from 100-140,” she said, adding that there were about 40 kids on the wait list for a mentor.

“What we have seen this year is that youth everywhere are experiencing disconnection, isolation, depression, anxiety. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out why that’s happening,” Scribner said.

“But the kids who are in our program who have a mentor are reporting back that their mentor has been a source of joy and hope and consistency in these kids’ lives that they desperately need right now.”

To see this year’s virtual auction and register for the event, and to find more information about becoming a mentor, visit https://bbbsislandcounty.org/

More in Life

Sherman, Phyllis
Rockin’ a Hard Place: A beautiful remembrance to heal a forgettable time

Each of us has that wonderful remembrance to treasure.

South Whidbey Homeless Coalition donation by Rotary
South Whidbey Rotary clubs donate to Homeless Coalition

Last Friday, the two Rotary Clubs on South Whidbey presented Executive Director… Continue reading

Annual Whidbey Gardening Workshop grows online this year

The island-wide gardening event is back this year after it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Whidbey writer’s hospice book released in paperback

Oak Harbor author Karen J. Clayton’s book, “Demystifying Hospice: Inside the Stories… Continue reading

South Whidbey Homeless Coalition donation by Rotary
South Whidbey Rotary clubs donate to Homeless Coalition

Last Friday, the two Rotary Clubs on South Whidbey presented Executive Director… Continue reading

Lead actress Shannyn Sossamon talks with filmmakers Andrew Morehouse, left, and Nate Bell while filming “The Hour After Westerly” at the Fort Casey Inn. Photo by Wes Anthony/Firehouse Creative
Film featuring Whidbey free to view temporarily

“The Hour After Westerly” is free to view online until Jan. 17.

Reading to dog
Therapy dogs go online

Reading with Rover pairs pooches with young readers

Mead maker Jeremy Kyncl pours a tasting glass of Hawthorn Tulsi Mead, a blend of hawthorn berry and holy basil, in the new Whidbey tasting room of Hierophant Meadery. Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
From bluff to bluff: Meadery off to sweet start

Hierophant Meadery in Freeland features local honey in its sweet brews.

Susie Van
WI Drive helping to get the elderly, disabled where they need to go

A Langley woman gives rides to people in need in her new van named “Cookie.”

t
A Hero for All Time: Research reveals a decorated former Fort Casey soldier

Coupeville woman writes book about local WWI soldier who gained Col. George S. Patton’s admiration.

teaser
Bakery moves to new location

Chris’ Bakery is in a new location with a new owner.

I Love You
Wendy’s manager shares the love one drive-thru customer at a time

April DiDonna tells Oak Harbor Wendy’s customers she cares.