The Greater Vernon Alumni Basketball Tournament brings alumni together over the Christmas holidays to rekindle old rivalries and raise money that is donated back to local initiatives.
The fourth-annual tourney will run Dec. 26 and 27 at Vernon Secondary’s Panther Pit.
More than $12,000 has been raised to support local high school athletics programs through this event, including $8,000 to support students needing financial assistance for travel, purchasing equipment, and supporting schools with tournament entry fees.
A further $3,500 has been given in the form of scholarships that directly support student-athletes pursuing post-secondary education. The tournament has also made donations to various community organizations and charities, including North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS) and Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
“This annual tournament is a meaningful example of building a better community through athletics,” said Dale Olson, athletics director at Clarence Fulton Secondary School, and a high school star with the Vernon Panthers in 198o-81 and ‘81-82. “Because of this initiative, our athletics program receives financial support to give students equal access to participation in our extracurricular activities.”
Organizers are quick to point out how this tournament would not be a possibility without the support of the community.
“We are in our fourth year because of the generosity of our local business community,” said tournament founder Jeff Samuel. “There are companies, like Tolko and Concept Physiotherapy that have been with us since our first year. This is a testament to how valuable these companies are to making our community as special as it is.”
Other sponsors for 2018 already include Faction Projects, Kal Tire, Lake City Law, Eagle Bay Camp, Caulfields Engraving, Westland Insurance, Andre’s Electronics, and Spallumcheen Golf.
Registration to participate in the tournament is open to teams comprised of graduates from Vernon School District high schools, Pleasant Valley Secondary School in Armstrong, George Elliot (Lake Country), and Salmon Arm.
Men’s and women’s teams interested in playing in this year’s tournament should act fast because space is limited. You can register online at alumnibasketball.ca.
Anyone wishing to donate items for the tournament’s silent auction is asked to contact Jeff Samuel directly at 604-347-9784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.