Despite the 42-degree weather outside, Dave Yochum – dressed in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt and wearing a lei – worked the crowd of 228 supporters during the Beach Bash fundraiser at Harvey’s Bar & Grill in Cornelius.
The March 6 Beach Bash featured both silent and live auctions and games, along with drink and food specials, to raise money for Big Day at the Lake.
More than 11 years ago, Yochum said, he realized that a lot of at-risk-children did not have access to Lake Norman, boats or tubing, and he decided to do something about it.
Contacting friends, business associates and community leaders, Yochum gathered “a massive number of volunteers,” he said, to found Big Day at the Lake.
Big Day at the Lake puts at-risk children from Big Brothers Big Sisters and their mentors on Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake for a day of boating fun each year. This year’s event is scheduled for July 18.
Yochum said Big Day at the Lake has only three goals: to provide a day of fun on the lake for children with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, to recruit mentors for the children “and to raise money for a worthy nonprofit.”
Special attendees included state Sen. Jeff Tarte; Rep. John Bradford; Bruce Trimbur, commissioner with the town of Cornelius; and Karen Calder, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte.
Former NFL player Barry Richardson, on hand to sign autographs, found himself part of the live auction, as volunteer auctioneer Robert Reed asked him to hold up a few items so people in the back could see what was up for bid.
The most popular game of the evening gave guests a chance to shoot foam darts at a large picture of Yochum in swim trunks on the water, scoring points for hitting various body parts. For $5, each participant would get six shots. The highest score for every half hour won a free car wash from Carolina Springs AutoSpa in Cornelius.
Many local businesses and artists donated goods and services for the auction, which raised $8,000.
Yochum said this year’s fundraising goal is $80,000. During the past 10 years, Big Day at the Lake has been responsible for raising more than $500,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters, which serves about 250 children in northern Mecklenburg County.
Thanking the 228 in attendance, Yochum said he wished everybody could see the smiles on the faces of the children experiencing the fun of tubing for the first time.
Through this experience – one he said the children will never forget – “Big Day at the Lake brings people from all walks of life together,” he said.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ For details on Big Day at the Lake, visit www.bigdayatthelake.com; on Facebook, visit the “Big Day at the Lake” page.
▪ Information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte: www.bbbscharlotte.org.