A Christmas just isn’t the same without a tree in the living room and presents from Santa. But the harsh reality is that many children everywhere, including in Richmond Hill and surrounding Bryan County, will go without this year due to family hardship and various other difficulties.
And as the season for gift-giving draws near, there’s an organization right here in Richmond Hill that for the last 14 years has pledged to whittle that portion of needy children down to zero. It’s all thanks to an annual event that funnels money directly into a local children’s nonprofit, the annual John Stevens Santa Scramble set for Friday.
“Basically we raise about $17,000 dollars per year,” said former Santa Scramble director Dick Brockhoff, who has been a member of the Good Ol’ Boys Club for about eight years.
For the last 14 years, the club has organized the Santa Scramble golf tournament to raise money for the Bryan County Children’s Fund. According to its website, the BCCF has donated about 500 gifts each year to local children in need thanks to the money the tournament raises.
“It all started way back when,” Brockhoff said. “Basically, it was just a group of guys getting together going to the state park and playing golf. It was kind of like a getaway.”
Named for one of the original Good Ol’ Boys, John Stevens, the tournament continues in his memory. Brockhoff himself took the helm of directing the Santa Scramble long after Stevens had passed, but he said he’s happy to see how popular the tournament has become in the just the last decade.
“We normally have about 20-23 teams and we still haven’t finalized this year,” he said. “But last I checked we were already up to 20.”
The golfers sign up in teams of four with each team donating a minimum of $300 just to compete.
And though Brockhoff said he worries that attendance might slip due to tighter budgets this year, the Santa Scramble is still the largest fundraising effort for the Bryan County Children’s Fund, having raised more than $80,000 since the tournament began, he said.
“We have plenty of teams that are constant repeats and we get a lot of support from the locals. But it’s the support from our local sponsors that play a big part in it,” Brockhoff said. “We’re able to give away door prizes and we have a drawing after the tournament.”
Though registration ended Monday to compete in the tournament, the Good Ol’ Boys and the Bryan County Children’s Fund are still seeking donations.
Those interested in helping can adopt a child or family, make a direct monetary donation or donate clothes and toys to the organization. This year, all donations should be made by Dec. 13 to ensure each child receives gifts.