GOSHEN, N.Y. (Oct. 23, 2012) – On Sunday, Sept. 30, dozens of youth and seniors joined together at the inaugural Juniors Swinging for Seniors golf tournament at Winding Hills Golf Course to raise funds for 19 different senior organizations (identified by the Orange County Office for the Aging) throughout Orange County. The event was hosted by Elant, the region’s leading nonprofit senior health care and housing provider, and the lead sponsor was Med World Pharmacy, an Omnicare company.
With the ever-pressing competition of regional not-for-profits to find funding to meet their operating and program needs, Elant chose to take the unique approach of collaboration, not only to raise funds, but also to promote awareness among not-for-profits serving the senior community. The mission of the Juniors Swinging for Seniors golf tournament was directed to foster the life skills from golf, promote intergenerational understanding and to instill a sense of philanthropy in the next generation.
“Leave it to Elant to spearhead the perfect expression of multigenerational support for 19 Orange County programs focusing on the needs of our older neighbors,” said Marcy Handler of Jewish Family Services (JFS), a participating organization. “The JFS Friendly Visitor Program was delighted to take part in this wonderful event.”
The nine-hole tournament was comprised of volunteer foursomes, made up of two juniors (age 8-16) and two seniors (over 62); the eldest player was in their 80s, and the youngest player was 8. Regional businesses sponsored the teams; each team was named after its sponsor. Players received a hearty gift bag for their participation and the honor of playing to win part of the $5,000 in cash prizes for each of the 18 participating organizations.
Juniors Swinging for Seniors kicked off with a putting contest in the afternoon, followed by nine holes of golf and ending with an awards cookout. Team Elant – with players Ryan Hunter, Zack Pokorny, Ralph Neuhaus and George Hunter – took first place and from a random drawing selected Occupations, Inc. Senior Division as the winner of the top prize of $1,000 cash. Team Unitex came in second place, and drew Meals on Wheels of Newburgh as the winner of $750 cash. Additional prizes were given for closest to the pin, longest drive and many other categories, until all of the senior not-for-profit organizations won a prize of $100 or more.
“Today’s event included more than 67 businesses and organizations who participated, sponsored teams or volunteered,” said Melissa McCoy, Elant’s Director of Corporate Initiatives. “It was extremely gratifying to see the vast number of organizations at the cookout, networking, collaborating and exploring the opportunity of working together for a positive outcome.”
The youth experience at the tournament was enhanced by the participation of two local celebrity actors, Rory and Declan McTigue of Chester, N.Y., who share the role of Teddy Schroeder on the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire. The twin boys welcomed the guests, posed for pictures and autographs and selected the winning centerpiece – Meals on Wheels of Newburgh – presenting them with a $250 prize.
Representatives from Kidz4Causes, a not-for-profit youth organization, volunteered at the event, as did members of the Juniors Swinging for Seniors committee.
Prior to the event, Elant incorporated a variety of opportunities to prepare youth and seniors for the tournament. The Juniors Swinging for Seniors committee collaborated with summer youth golf programs to share information about the open tournament, and Elant sponsored six putting and driving range clinics for seniors at Winding Hills Golf Course and The Castle Driving Range.
With the committee’s concern that access to equipment might pose a problem, committee member Christine Brinkerhoff, Assistant to the Superintendent of Middletown Parks and Recreation, made the connection with Middletown High School to find a solution. Equipment that was originally donated to the school by deceased educator, principal and golf enthusiast Willy Carter were re-donated to the Juniors Swinging for Seniors committee for participants who needed clubs, bags and other items.
Sisters Stephanie and Nicole Cioffe of Middletown enjoyed the opportunity to play together on Team O’Connor Davies with senior Marybeth Lombardo. Stephanie won a raffle prize of new golf shoes that were donated by the late Willy Carter. “This was very special for me, because I took lessons from Willy when I was 5 years old,” said Stephanie. “Now, part of him will be with me when I wear these shoes.”
“This is a wonderful example and clear message of how collaboration or ‘paying it forward’ can lead to great things, and can continue meaningful contributions to better our communities,” said McCoy. “At the end of the day, 67 organizations supported, numerous volunteered, seniors and juniors shared a positive experience, 19 not-for-profits learned a bit more about each other and the opportunity to collaborate, and the legacy of a ‘seniors’ passion was passed along to the ‘juniors.’”
Brendan Kennedy, Melissa McCoy, Nicole Cioffe, Stephanie Cioffe
Mary Byrne, Bobbe Rhoades, Julia Zambito, Emma Stent
Zack Pokorny, Ralph Neuhaus, George Hunter, Ryan Hunter, Melissa McCoy