Mini golf tournament draws young putters

The Crisis Nursery of Effingham County hosted its first annual Sunshine Palooza mini-golf tournament Saturday at the Evergreen Mini Golf course.

All proceeds from the tournament went to the Crisis Nursery, an organization that aims to prevent childhood trauma, abuse and neglect, as well as protect the children who live under such circumstances.

Crisis Nursery Director Meghan Rewers said she was looking for a family-friendly fundraiser that would be inexpensive for participants.

“We wanted to create a family-friendly event that was low cost and for the family,” Rewers said. “When we saw that the mini golf course was opening back up, we were really excited to have our fundraiser here.”

The event featured five age brackets starting with children 4 years old and younger all the way up to 15 years old and older. The winner of each bracket was entered to win Holiday World tickets and other additional prizes.

Drake Brown, 10, and his father, Rob, decided to participate in the tournament after Drake’s mom told him about the tournament.

When asked why he came out to the tournament, Drake was all smiles.

“We came to have fun,” Drake said.

“We like to golf together,” added Rob.

Riley Seachrist, 15, and her brother Max, 10, came out to support their cousin, Rewers, and to have a friendly competition. Riley, a newcomer to the Evergreen Mini Golf course, was confident she’d come out the winner.

“We came here to support our cousin who works for the Crisis Nursery. Hopefully, I’ll beat Max,” Riley said with a laugh.

Max was quick to remind his sister that he was four strokes ahead of her well into their game. He said he had played at the course before and was really enjoying himself this time around.

“I like it because it’s fun. I don’t really play it on a regular basis, but I like to golf,” Max said.

Brock and Jessica Hackman brought their children Dominic, 4, infant twins Ember and Owen and Kayla Smith, 10, to the golf course in support of the Crisis Nursery. Brock said the family decided to play to support the Crisis Nursery and to have fun while doing so.

After playing all 18 holes, participants could visit stands set up near the golf course for kid-friendly activities. The Effingham County Humane Society brought out cats and dogs looking for a new home, and the animals were eager to be petted. The Effingham Public Library, Stang Arts and Usborne Books each had activities ranging from face painting to karaoke.

Rewers said she was grateful for the opportunity to reach out to the community and inform them of what the Crisis Nursery has accomplished in the short time it has been open.

“We are brand new, so being able to share what we have accomplished in four short months with the community is great,” Rewers said. “We’ve made so much progress and have gained community support with community efforts.”

The Crisis Nursery of Effingham County offers free, 24-hour services to children ages birth to 6 years old. The Crisis Nursery provides emergency and non-emergency care, child care items and clothing and meals.

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