The Kiwanis Club of Burbank held their first annual Charity Golf Ball Drop and Family Fun Day at John Muir Middle School on Saturday, July 24.
The free fundraising event included music, games, food, and a golf ball drop contest. Nearly 20 booths from local groups were present for the occasion, including setups by Burbank for Armenia, the Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, and the Burbank Coordinating Council.
The Kiwanis Club, an international nonprofit with a Burbank chapter dedicated to aiding youth in the community, initially planned the event as a virtual gathering solely featuring the golf ball drop contest. This expanded to include the family fun aspect of the fundraiser as COVID-19 conditions allowed for an in-person gathering.
The golf ball drop was led by Burbank Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Hatch and the crew from Truck 12. The contest consisted of sponsored golf balls being dropped from the top of a BFD truck ladder onto the John Muir Middle School Sports Field.
After a total of 2,800 golf balls were dropped, two winners emerged from the contest: one sponsor of the golf ball which landed furthest from the Kiwanis Club flag placed on the field and another sponsor whose golf ball landed closest to the flag. The furthest golf ball landing came with a $500 prize, while the landing of the ball nearest to the flag earned its sponsor $5,000. Contests like this one support the Kiwanis Club and give young children, the target audience of their services, the opportunity to engage in memorable experiences with local organizations.
“There [was] this little boy standing there in awe watching this fire truck and all the golf balls dropping, and he says, ‘I know what kind of truck that is…it’s a fire truck,’” Kiwanis Club of Burbank President, Kelly Peña, said. “Our focus is on kids, and so when you see those moments, it just really makes it worth everything we do in Kiwanis.”
Carpenters Local 661 donated ten sets of cornholes for kids to play with for the fundraiser, and youth literature was featured through book signings, interactive journaling, and novel giveaways. Free offerings of 18-hole mini-golf, face painting, and other games for children were also made possible through local affiliations.
“We partnered with a lot of community people,” Kiwanis Club of Burbank Vice-President, Douglas Chadwick, said. “The Kiwanis Literacy Club also gave away hundreds of books, [and] we had a …kids journal through COVID-19, where 50 kids from around the country all had a chapter in that book about how COVID-19 affected them.”
Community entertainment groups lent their talents to create a lively ambiance at the gathering. Generation DCD dancers completed four dance performances at the event, and Burbank Singing Star sang four different musical numbers. Furthermore, a number of Burbank dignitaries made appearances at the fundraiser, including Burbank interim Chief of Police Mike Albanese and Senator Anthony Portantino.
“When they got there, everyone was just amazed at how big it became,” Peña said. “This was our year to learn what works and what doesn’t because it will be an annual event and it will get bigger and bigger…[and] it was all about just bringing the community together.”
Funds raised from the Golf Ball Drop and Family Fun Day will go towards supporting core focus areas of the Kiwanis Club, including the John Muir Middle School Speech Contest, the Burbank YMCA Youth and Government, and Key Clubs of Burbank High School, Monterey High School, and Providence High School.
The Kiwanis Club has been consistently serving Burbank since 1922, and club members are already beginning to plan their centennial celebration for 2022. In addition, an early ceremony will take place on September 25 of this year. On this date, a 100-Year Officer Installation will be observed at the Boys & Girls Club in Burbank, for which Kiwanis Club International President-Elect, Bert West, will be in attendance.
Going along with the true spirit of the Kiwanis Club central values, the Golf Ball Drop and Family Fun Day was put together with the help of 45 young key club members who collectively learned how to serve the community through teamwork and event planning. This corresponds with the organization’s essential principles of improving youth leadership and helping young people find their voice.
“We’re all about creating the leaders of today and tomorrow,” Peña said. “[We do] whatever we need to do to foster community service and leadership.”
Every Wednesday, the Kiwanis Club of Burbank hosts public lunch meetings from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Burbank Community YMCA, except for every last Wednesday of the month, when a public social hour is held at The Morrison in Burbank at 5:30 p.m.
Anyone interested in learning more can contact Kiwanis Club of Burbank President, Kelly Peña, through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: (818) 588-5250