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Youth sport fundraiser shatters registration record

Play 4 Sundre Kidz golf tournament returns after being cancelled last year
MVP Play 4 Sundre Kidz
Generally capped at 144 participants, organizers including Nicky Vardas, left, this year gratefully accepted an over-registration for the fourth annual Play 4 Sundre Kidz golf tournament. Maria Gamelin, right, was among the sponsors who stepped up to support the fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Play 4 Sundre Kidz Facebook

SUNDRE — After being cancelled last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fourth annual Play 4 Sundre Kidz golf tournament recently returned with renewed energy.

“Everybody was looking forward to just doing something for fun and something normal, and getting the kids back in their sports in the fall and the spring,” said Nicky Vardas, one of the event’s organizers.

The inaugural tournament was held in 2017 at the Coyote Creek Golf & RV Resort, which has since continued to host the fundraiser, and has typically drawn out more than 100 people.

While the maximum registration is usually capped at 144, Vardas said organizers were overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm and so decided to allow additional participation, resulting in an over-registration totalling 168 people.

That number of golfers slowed the tournament down a little bit, “but everybody was pretty happy,” she said.

“The amount of people that wanted to golf, and the amount of support we got from the town and sponsors, and donations — it was awesome. It was Sundre to a tee,” she said, pun unintended.

“Sundre always looks after its organizations.”

Although the weather on Saturday, July 17 started off a little chilly, the sun eventually came out to shine for a beautiful day with a light breeze, she said.

People enjoyed the opportunity not only to have some fun hitting the fairways while socializing with friends, but also supporting a good cause along the way, she said.

The organization has since getting started helped about 30 families, with recipients being split about 60-40 between Sundre and Mountain View County, she said, adding kids are eligible so long as they attend either of the local schools.

“With the lull last year, they weren’t able to do really anything,” she said.

But with the semblance of a return to normalcy, Vardas looks forward to that trend reversing.

Registrations are held twice a year — one in the fall with another in the spring — and parents need simply fill out an application, copies of which are available on the group's social media page. Any sport a child wants to play is fair game, she said.

“We’ve done swimming, hockey, dance, baseball,” she said, adding the organization has also helped cover the cost of purchasing equipment. If it’s a sport and keeps the kids active, then they’re good.”

Vardas later informed The Albertan that about $15,000 was raised, and said the group is “looking forward to handing out some money this year and watching kids play sports.”

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel is the editor of the Sundre Round Up and a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.
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