FUN for a cause
Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
Imagine a bright sunny day, against the backdrop of rolling hills, lush green flora, the happy sounds of children laughing and, subsequently, the aroma of food permeating the air.
Such was the case Sunday at the fourth staging of the RJR/SACC Family Fun Day & Charity Golf Tournament held at the picturesque Caymanas Golf and Country Club in St Catherine.
Scheduled to begin two hours after the start of the golf tournament, the all-inclusive fun day's main entertainment came in the form of access to the swimming pool, clown make-up and rides, all for the children.
Adorning the lawns of the club, the rides included a bounce-a-bout, the trapezium and a mechanical bull. But it was the mechanical bull that stole the spotlight, as children and adults alike, one after the other, took on the challenge to conquer it.
For Tyler Young, "It was fun; it was like a tornado. My fingers hurt from holding on so tightly," the nine-year-old said.
The Jesse Ripoll Primary student was one of the few to last for a creditable period of time on the bull.
Merriment for adults
Clown make-up, applied by Lewayne Turner, was popular mainly with the boys who wanted their favourite movie character, such as Spider Man, painted on their faces.
But while the activities seemed to favour the children, the adults were given the opportunity to win spot prizes and during lunch they were entertained by vocalist Tanice Morrison, who performed songs such as Long Distance from her album, No Imitation. And throughout the day Shang Hai provided background music from different genres selected by DJ Warren.
The RJR/SACC Family Fun Day & Charity Golf Tournament is the only fund-raising event for the St Andrew Care Centre (SACC), an outreach programme of the St Andrew Parish Church. The programme is geared towards assisting Kingston street boys and those at risk.
Milverton Reynolds, in his second year as chairman of the nine-year-old SACC board, told The Gleaner that "SACC is the intake point for boys from the street".
And Reverend Major Sirrano Kitson, explained that "the boys come in barely literate - lacking social and problem-solving skills, and, through psycho-social intervention, we have seen changes in behaviour and academic overall. And now they can positively contribute to society".
But while the turnout was fair, Reynolds was disappointed with the late start and the size of the turnout.
That turnout Reynolds chalked up to a combination of the rain, the holiday weekend, and the fact that the event did not have a fixed yearly date.
According to him, there are plans to make the first Sunday in May the set date for future events.
Funds from the day's events will go towards areas like salary for remedial teachers not covered by the Ministry of Youth and Culture Possibility Programme. This year's target was $2.5 million.
To date, SACC has assisted 950 boys and this year has placed five in high schools.
Along with RJR, other major sponsors were The Gleaner, Jamaica National and Courts Jamaica Limited.