Big Brothers and Big Sisters Golf for Kids Sake

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News

 

By Tammy Schneider

 

Gini Naylor was introduced to Big Brothers Big Sisters when a family member mentioned that she would be a terrific big sister. Naylor began exploring the volunteer opportunity, and after an interview process, training and background check, was paired with 12-year-old Autumn Lang. That was two years ago, and from that initial meeting a friendship has blossomed that has been beneficial to both Naylor and Autumn.

 

The two meet regularly, and visits might include a trip to the theatre, dinner, a walk in the park or simply an afternoon of conversation and playing with Naylor’s cat. Their time together can be a couple of hours or an evening, and they keep their schedule flexible to accommodate work, school and other responsibilities.

 

Autumn smiles as she describes how the match has broadened her world. Naylor is teaching her to sew and has taken her to places like the Monkey Barrel and local theatre. What she may not realize but certainly benefits from is the one on one time that having a Big Sister provides. For a set time every week or two, she is the sole focus of a caring adult who makes her feel important and builds her confidence. Autumn is from a loving home, but sometimes the chaos and busyness of the world leaves little time for one-on-one attention from parents. Naylor provides that attention.

 

Naylor, on the other hand, has found a young friend and companion that is always ready to join her for a new outing. She has had the opportunity to share her optimistic view of a big, beautiful world and watch the positive affect her mentoring has had on Autumn as their relationship has grown. She is sure that when their official Big Sister/lLttle Sister partnership dissolves when Autumn turns 16, they will remain friends and stay in touch.

 

Right now there are 28 kids waiting for their “Big” in the area covered by the Kincardine and District chapter. A typical wait for a match could be two years, but some kids may wait up to five years for the right person to volunteer. Both kids and adults are pre-screened to make sure they have common interests and personalities to make the matching process as smooth as possible. Staff stress that volunteering doesn’t require a lot of time (as little as an hour per week will suffice) or money,but do ask that a minimum one year commitment be made. Experienced caseworkers provide support to both the mentor and the mentee during their relationship. If adults aren’t ready for a one-on-one commitment, they can also offer support by attending group mentoring events and fundraisers.

 

On May 31 Little brothers and sisters gathered at Family Funland for an evening of mini-golf, go-karting and dinner. The get-together, sponsored by Ontario Power Generation, was the kick-off for the Golf for Kid’s Sake Travelling Road Show Tournament on June 1 at the Kincardine Golf Club, Somerhill, Black Horse, Goderich Sunset and Ainsdale courses. For the first time 34 local youth aged 10 to 16 years were part of a “youth helping youth”Mini-Masters by playing nine holes at the Ainsdale club, while 84 adult golfers played 27 holes at their assigned courses. The event is one of the biggest fundraisers for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and while registration was down this year compared to last, BBBS staff hopes that with earlier promotion numbers will increase for their 2019 event, which is always held the first Friday in June. They are very grateful to their loyal sponsors who return year after year to offer support of the event.

 

If you are interested in volunteeringplease go to the BBBS website at www.kincardine.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca or call 519-396-3565.