“It’s always great fun,” said team captain, Kal Tire president, Robert Foord.
“We have lots of laughs.”
Foord is among 240 participants currently brushing up on their spelling skills in preparation for this year’s challenge, which gets underway at the Vernon Lodge at 7:15 a.m. on April 25.
According to event organizer, and the Literacy Society’s executive director, Wendy Aasen, Foord’s team’s spelling skills have consistently improved each year.
But it’s not really about ability. It’s about sentiment.
“Kal Tire has been with the event since day one,” Aasen said.
“Robert and the team are a great sponsor of literacy in the Okanagan. We’re lucky because we have a lot of sponsors like Kal Tire and they all help keep our programs going.”
Now in its 11th year, the Spelling Bee Challenge sees teams comprised of adults from a variety of professional backgrounds compete for the title of champion, plus bragging rights. Words are given in three rounds with five words in each round.
Time is given for the teams to discuss each word and write them down. At the end of the round, response sheets are collected and scored while the correct spellings are provided. If there is a tie at the end of three rounds, all tables compete in a three-word spell off.
Whether it’s their fun-loving spirit, or just a slight competitive streak, Aasen said, thanks to the challenge’s enthusiastic participants, the event has grown this year to attract 30 teams — a record number for this decade-long event.
“I remember starting this with only 11 teams,” Aasen marvelled. “Now here we are with 30. It’s amazing to see.”
Tickets are $125 with proceeds going to support the Literacy Society’s programming and services.
These programs include outreach, financial literacy, computer literacy, one-to-one tutoring and reading and skills boosting, among others.
The challenge is an early morning event. Breakfast will be a hot buffet that will be available starting at 7:15 a.m. Participants are asked to be in their seats by 7:30 a.m. The event is expected to end by 9:30 a.m.
Every $35 donated to the society provides a student with a full hour of one-on-one tutoring.
Anyone who wishes to support the Literacy Society, but cannot attend the Spelling Bee is still welcome to donate, by cheque, in person or by Paypal. To learn more visit www.literacysociety.ca or call 250-275-3117.