Kal Tire president Robert Foord (bottom left) and Karmen Doucette (bottom right) get some help from their Auto Correct teammates Bernie Ramis (top from left), Jeremy Spruston Luke Davis, Nikki Kinakin, Michelle Erickson and Cortnay Solmes as they study for the 10th annual Spelling Bee Challenge, which gets underway Wednesday. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Kal Tire president Robert Foord (bottom left) and Karmen Doucette (bottom right) get some help from their Auto Correct teammates Bernie Ramis (top from left), Jeremy Spruston Luke Davis, Nikki Kinakin, Michelle Erickson and Cortnay Solmes as they study for the 10th annual Spelling Bee Challenge, which gets underway Wednesday. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Spelling Bee causing a buzz

10th annual event Wednesday in support of Junction Literacy Centre

The Spelling Bee champion crown is again up for grabs, with the real victory going to the youth, adults and seniors who benefit from the Junction Literacy Centre.

Now in its 10th year, the Adult Spelling Bee Challenge takes place Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Vernon Lodge. While the event sees teams of adults compete in a group setting for the top title, it’s those accessing programs at the literacy centre that benefit from it all.

“We hope to have around 28 teams and will raise in the ballpark of $30,000 through tables, donations, and sponsorship,” said Wendy Aasen, Literacy and Youth Initiatives Society of the North Okanagan executive director.

“We use the funds to fill gaps in our programming and operations essentially, as we are not fully funded through the various grants we receive. It’s also a chance to raise awareness to the importance of literacy and a great community-builder.”

The popular events attracts people of various education and backgrounds, including bankers, college professors, journalists, municipal staff and even students (who can be sponsored to take part).

Among the annual attendees are the Kal Tire Auto Corrects.

“I plan on being there to give those Okanagan College Eggheads a run for their money,” said Kal Tire President Robert Foord, of the repeat Spelling Bee champions.

“We turned off spell check for a month.”

And as the team of Queen Beez proved last year with their win, it’s anyone’s game really.

So with the help of a couple new spellers (Nikki Kinakin and Michelle Erickson), plus their ringer Karmen Doucette, Kal Tire is hoping to earn some glory.

“We’re just the support group for Karmen,” said Foord, as the event is a group-approach.

Veteran Spelling Bee attendant Bernie Ramis adds: “Karmen has been running a spelling bootcamp…we have not been attending though.”

But in all honesty, the event is a fun, team-building morning that keeps those such as Kal Tire coming back year after year in support of the literacy centre.

“It’s a great cause,” said Foord.

Approximately 400 children and youth are supported through literacy programs at the centre such as One to One and After School Reading – where more than 200 trained adult volunteers read with elementary school kids throughout the year. Plus more than 50 seniors receive computer support from volunteers.

The funds raised from the Spelling Bee help make such initiatives possible.

“We are very grateful for the support we’ve received from the community,” said Aasen. “That can’t be overstated!”

Tickets for the Bee, which includes a hot breakfast, are $125 ($1,000 for a team of eight), and there are still some spots available. Or sponsor a student for $125.

For more information visit www.junctionliteracycentre.ca.