Lake Norman & Mooresville

Golf event aims to help grieving youth

A golf tournament hosted by local business professionals will raise money for children learning to cope with the loss of a loved one.

Proceeds from the Golf 4 Hospice tournament Sept. 10 at Rocky River Golf Club in Concord will help fund Hospice & Palliative Care of Cabarrus County's programs for children and teens, as well as the organization's Wings2Soar, a grief camp for ages 6-16.

The tournament will be hosted by Business Network International Lunchtime Links, a business referral and networking group made up of about 25 area professionals.

This year's tournament will be the group's third to raise money for local causes. The group has raised about $7,000 for Shriners Hospitals for Children-Greenville, a pediatric hospital in South Carolina, and Wings of Eagles ranch, a nonprofit therapeutic horseback riding center in Concord.

"We wanted to give back to community and try to help nonprofits," said Bill Barbee, a member of the group. "You've got kids that have lost someone they love. We thought it was a good thing to do."

Wings2Soar is an annual camp free to children who have lost a loved one. About 40 children attend the camp each year.

But in the past, a lack of resources has forced Hospice to turn away more potential campers, said Shea Collins, the community counseling coordinator for the local Hospice.

"Sometimes the need is greater than what we can provide," said Collins.

The camp helps children process grief and gives them coping skills, she said. Campers talk about their loss, but they have fun, too. They go out on canoes, play games and do arts and crafts.

"We're trying to give them tools to continue their journey of healing," said Collins.

Often children feel alienated by their loss and feel that no one else understands, she said.

"The camp groups kids together with similar losses," she said. "They realize they're not alone."

Tournament prizes include a Rolex watch and a $15,000 putting green. The tournament also features the "Million Dollar Shootout," a drawing that will allow one golfer to take a shot at a hole in one for $1 million. Golfers who register for the tournament will receive a ticket for the drawing, but tickets are also available for $5 to those who do not register.