Brays Island to Host 20th Annual Croquet Tournament to Benefit AMIkids
By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer
Featured in The Island News
May 12, 2011
The 20th Annual Croquet Tournament to benefit AMIkids (formerly Beaufort Marine Institute) will take place on the beautiful, lush greens at Brays Island Plantation on Saturday, May 21st from 11am until 2pm.
Board Members coordinate this successful and memorable event that raises money for an organization that provides a second chance for young men who would otherwise be sent to jail for their non-violent offenses.
AMIkids Beaufort was started in 1985 by seven locals who saw the need for a facility to redirect kids who have been referred by the juvenile justice system or have failed in traditional school settings. Since then, AMIkids has shown hundreds of young South Carolina men, ages 14-17, a way to change their lives.
The agency operates 56 programs in eight states, including the Beaufort program in South Carolina, one its most successful programs. At AMIkids, they care about the kids society has given up on. By giving young men the tools they need to succeed in life…structure, discipline, love, and positive role models… and teaching them the core values by which to lead productive live, they are able to help risk youth separate a troubled past for a bright future.
Mike Ingram is the Board President of AMIkids Beaufort. Ingram is a leader and connects with the organization altruistically and from the bottom of his heart. He cares about these young men and believes in the program, as does his entire Board.
“When you combine the labor of the hard working staff we have at the institute, a dedicated board of trustees, the many volunteers and the hundreds of financial patrons, you get results that matter,” explains Ingram.
“At the end of the day, these collective efforts are changing young men’s lives and making them educated and productive citizens in tomorrow’s society, and that’s a good thing!”
A recent success story is that of Leon Mays, a graduate of AMIkids Beaufort and once on a path of destruction. But this year, Mays was accepted to and will be attending The Citadel in the Fall.
Education is the key to success at AMIkids. Academics come first, then hands-on programs such as scuba and seamanship, which build self-esteem and the ability to master new skills. Boys’ goals are to return to school at the proper grade level or to get a GED. But Mays took it a step further and applied to one of the best military colleges in the country. And he owes it all to AMIkids
Unlike other states that AMIkids calls home, South Carolina has not cut funding for this extraordinary organization this year. Governor Nikki Haley supports AMIkids and will continue to fight for the agency when budget cuts loom.
The statewide board recently organized a tremendously effective legislative breakfast. Board, staff and kids from all of South Carolina’s programs participated. More than 150 legislators and legislative staff joined AMIkids and had breakfast with the students.
And legislators know that it costs $300/day to keep a juvenile contained at the Department of Juvenile Justice. At AMIkids, it costs $100/day. And besides the financial benefit, AMIkids provides a GED and vocational skills and produces young men who will eventually become tax-paying citizens.
This year, Representative Shannon Erickson, also a proponent and vocal supporter for AMIkids will be the Grand Marshall of the Croquet Tournament to be held at Brays Island, which has sponsored this tournament for all of its 20 years.
Ingram is first to thank Brays Island and says, “Their support and generosity has allowed this event to raise over $700K!”
The tournament is successful because of its organizers, who are committed to the youth who pledge to redirect their lives for the betterment of society.
And, the tournament is simply fun. Everyone dresses in white. Awards are given for Best Dressed Man and Lady and Best Picnic Spread. Also, the Silent Auction offers unique items that are sure to impress. And, this year, organizers are raffling off a chance to win a 1949 MG TC in mint condition with tan leather, wire wheels and right steering. Only 55 tickets will be sold at $500 each.
If you have a team interested in participating in the 20th Annual AMIkids Beaufort Croquet Tournament, please call 843-846-2128. Cost is $400 for a team of eight. Space is limited. It is sure to be a great time.
And if you’d like to donate to this incredible organization, you may call the number above as well. It’s a worthy cause and the program provides win-win solutions not only these brave youth, but for the entire state of South Carolina.