Calling all golfers! Tourney still has room

KINGSTON — Improving conditions for Kingston High School’s athletes relies on a continuous battle for funding. However, what the battle lacks in money it has in supporters.

Many local individuals and community groups shoulder the fundraising efforts including Kingston Rotary. Its main focus is obtaining enough money to provide lights for the athletic turf field. The cost is estimated at more than $200,000.

“Lights are of course a real big issue because the athletes can only use the field until dark,” said Greg Wright, president of Kingston High School Athletic Boosters. A major issue behind the move to install lights is the lack of lighting forces games to occur in the daylight. For spring and fall sports, the games are played during regular business hours — a time when working parents are unable to attend.

“People have to take off work to come see games now but the lights would allow us to hold games when parents can see them,” Wright said.

So far Rotary raised $13,600 and hopes to add at least $10,000 from its second annual Swing 4 the Lights Golf Tournament.

However, the tournament, scheduled June 13 at the White Horse Golf Course in Kingston, needs more players.

“We have a decent turnout so far but not as good as last year,” said Clint Boxman, community events and projects chairman for Kingston Rotary.

Last year the event had 144 golfers and even had to turn some away, he said.

So far only 60 are confirmed this year.

Boxman said there are multiple reasons why he thinks the turnout isn’t as good.

“We did raise our prices but unfortunately I think we just have the wrong day,” he said. “Last year’s tournament wasn’t the day before (high school) graduation and for the Monday through Friday working people, taking a Friday off to play golf doesn’t always fly with the boss.”

Players in the tournament receive lunch, a catered dinner and the ability to use a golf cart. They also have a chance to win a new Ford Fusion

in a hole-in-one competition.

“It’s very fuel efficient and economy oriented. It’s the Ford side to a Toyota Prius,” Boxman said. “We are hip in Rotary and we even have buttons with text lingo.”

Rotary’s hipster red and white buttons “Got2 C 2Play,” refer to athletes need for the lights to play sports at night. The buttons have raised about $3,000 of Rotary’s total funding toward lights.

Those not wishing to participate in the golf tournament can buy $30 dinner tickets and participate in silent auction of 20 items ranging in value of $50 to $500, including a Nike golf bag, Wingpoint golf course certificates, massages, a treadmill and rowing machine.

Those wishing to add to the light funds can also become a Watt supporter.

“The Watt sponsorship is tongue-in-cheek with lights,” Boxman said.

Those who donate $50 are recognized as a 50-watt supporter, $75 is a 75-watt supporter, etc.

Rotary President Dan Martin hopes the Rotary can reach a tipping point with the school board.

“We are hoping we could get another $20,000 this year and the school district will see how much the community has raised and pitch in.”

The golf tournament might become an annual tradition for Kingston Rotary.

“Once we pay for the lights we can pay for something else,” Martin said, adding funding raised would continue to be put toward SPARK — schools and parks around Kingston — Rotary’s theme.

“There’s been a lot of struggles with the high school and lights are just a small part of all things needed out here,” Wright said.

“I grew up here and graduated from North Kitsap and my son goes to school here (Kingston). I just wanted the kids that came to Kingston to have the same opportunities they have at North.”

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