By Carol E. Davis (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District)April 21, 2011
WIESBADEN, Germany - Paid mulligans, short putts, and long drives all add up to big bucks for some high school seniors here hoping for a little extra cash for college.
More than 140 golfers gathered at the Rheinblick Golf Course to take part in a "best ball" Big Bucks for College Charity Golf Tournament April 8. The annual tournament is designed to help seniors at Wiesbaden High School counterbalance the cost of college.
Col. J. Richard Jordan III, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District commander, expressed how pleased he was to see everyone's involvement in giving the students a little extra cash to help them transition from high school to college.
"It's important that we reinvest our efforts into our youth and the rest of the community because this is what makes us [as a community] great," Jordan said. "We are looking forward to sending our high school seniors off to college or trade school with a bang."
Golfers at the charity event, sponsored by the USACE Europe District, Germany Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and the Old Ironsides Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army had the opportunity to participate and win awards in a variety of activities including longest drive, closest to the pin, closest to the center line, a new putting contest, on the practice green, and most creative golf attire.
The putting contest participants split half of the proceeds from the contest with BBFC, while all funds from mulligan purchases went directly to the BBFC fund.
BBFC, now in its fifth year, is a private organization operated by the Department of Defense Dependent Schools - Europe's Boosters Club and is approved by the Wiesbaden garrison.
Keith Cromartie, tournament director, said that BBFC fund raisers could not function without the efforts of parents, faculty members and other volunteers.
This year's BBFC parent-chairperson, Tammie Stouter, a regional program manager, said she became involved with BBFC because it does more for the students than give them money.
"I really like the fact that any student can participate, it's not just a program for the 4.0 GPA [Grade Point Average] students," Stouter said. "Working with the kids is great. I love it when they come to me excited about receiving their acceptance letters."
According to Stouter, students must be a high school senior, sign an agreement to volunteer 10 hours towards program activities, and have an acceptance letter to a college, trade or vocational school to qualify for the BBFC program.
At graduation, every student participating gets an equal share of the BBFC fund, Stouter said. This year, more than 50 percent of the seniors participated in the BBFC program. The money can be used to help students with any school related expenses such as tuition, books, dorm room accessories and anything students may need to succeed at school.
"The program teaches the kids the right way to be a part of a community," Stouter said. "Though volunteering, the seniors learn that community is give and take and not a handout."
Stouter's son is a Wiesbaden High School senior and participant in the BBFC program.
"I have a partial college scholarship but money I receive will help to offset the remaining tuition," Eric Stouter said. "It's not a lot of money but if you're attending a large college, every bit helps."
He said that balancing school with volunteering wasn't always easy but participation in BBFC was worth it.
"It's easy money," he said. "And if I work events with my friends then it's a lot of fun too."
Students can serve their 10 hours of volunteer time in a variety of BBFC fund-raising events including the golf tournament, bingo, auctions, and bagging groceries at the commissary.
"I think it's fair to require us to volunteer because we are pitching in, doing our part to get the money," he said. "I would recommend the program. It's a good opportunity to help provide an activity to the community, making money for college is a plus."
The next Big Bucks event, the annual Community May Fest, will be held May 7 at the Wiesbaden High School beginning at 2 p.m.