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YMCA program bowled over by fundraiser turnout

Brett Ripper rolls during the YMCA’s Bowl for the Kids fundraising event at the Family Bowlaway on Sunday, March 3. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

The Butler County Family YMCA reserved the entire Family Bowlaway Fun Center on Fairground Hill Road in Butler on Sunday, March 3, for the YMCA’s 30th annual Bowl for the Kids fundraising event. About 200 bowlers came out to the family entertainment center to spend their Sunday afternoon on the lanes raising money for the YMCA’s various youth programs.

“It sounded like a good thing to do to help the kids, and it’s a good fundraiser,” said Jim Huemme.

According to YMCA development director Christina Dreher, this event will be the first of the Butler YMCA’s four major fundraising events this year, followed by the Butler Road Race in June, the Fore the Children Golf Classic in September, and Giving Tuesday in November.

“All the proceeds from these special events go into our annual support campaign, which allows us to give back to our community members who might not otherwise be able to afford a YMCA membership,” Dreher said.

Dreher said about 200 bowlers signed up to participate in the fundraising event, including children barely strong enough to pick up a bowling ball, as well as repeat visitors like Patrick McKenzie.

“One of my friends, Larry Cicco, is on the committee. We come every year,” McKenzie said. “It's a great cause, it's a great event, and it’s a lot of fun for my family.”

Among the programs benefiting from the bowling fundraiser are the YMCA’s summer camps, swim lessons, and the “Reach & Rise” youth mentorship program.

“Reach & Rise is one of the good things we do at the Y,” Dreher said. “It’s our one-to-one and group youth mentoring program, and this resource is totally free for all kids involved. It doesn't matter their income level or anything like that.”

As usual, the Butler YMCA reserved every single lane at the Family Bowlaway for this annual event. Along with the 28 regular ten-pin bowling lanes, there were three lanes within the Bowlaway’s “Back Alley” event space reserved for “duckpin bowling,” a miniaturized version of ten-pin bowling.

“It's a game that they have in the Back Alley. A lot of families who have smaller kids, who might not be able to bowl with the bigger bowling balls, reserve these lanes,” Dreher said. “So it's a more family-friendly option.”

Also among the hundreds of bowlers on Sunder was Miss Butler County, Samantha Roth, who both bowled and volunteered to assemble the buffet in the Back Alley.

“I was here last year and I helped serve the food,” Roth said. “I'm doing a lot of community service in the area. I grew up in this city, and an inner city student myself, it's really cool to be helping out.”

The YMCA during the event also raised funds from a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, and gift basket raffles. Nearly 50 gift baskets were up for grabs, many of which were donated by organizations such as NexTier Bank, Pivot Physical Therapy, Redline Auto Glass, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“We have a bunch of raffles that are donated by all kinds of community partners,” said Dreher. “The Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Pittsburgh Steelers are folks who support our special events by sending something every year.”

About 200 bowlers crowded the Family Bowlaway on Fairground Hill Road in Butler on Sunday, March 3, for the YMCA’s 30th annual Bowl for the Kids fundraising event. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
About 200 bowlers crowded the Family Bowlaway on Fairground Hill Road in Butler on Sunday, March 3, for the YMCA’s 30th annual Bowl for the Kids fundraising event. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Jacob Wagner rolls during the YMCA’s Bowl for the Kids fundraising event at the Family Bowlaway on Sunday, March 3. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Charlotte Salera rolls a ball down the one of the duckpin lanes in the Back Alley during the YMCA’s Bowl for the Kids fundraising event at the Family Bowlaway on Sunday, March 3. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

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