A strong showing of sheriff's deputy cruisers in the parking lot of Spring Hill Lanes is certain to attract attention on Saturday. But they won't be there investigating a crime scene. Instead, they will be taking part in the 13th annual Hernando County Sheriff's Office Youth Education Services Bowling Extravaganza, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Jim Powers, the youth coordinator for the sheriff's office, said the event always attracts a sizable number of teams and individual bowlers to a yearly fundraiser that supports local children.
"There are 240 children ages 6 to 12 in this county," said Powers. The annual tournament benefits children in that age group through programs such as the Sheriff's Summer R.O.A.R. (Respect Others and YouRself) Day Camps, the Richard Buckingham Community Service Scholarship and the In Honor of Richard B. Nugent Community Service Scholarship.
Spring Hill Lanes has been the location for the Bowling Extravaganza for its 13 years in play, offering lanes to supporters of the event. Powers hopes to fill them all with teams of four or individual bowlers for a day of fun while benefiting local children.
"Two years ago, we filled 44 lanes," Powers said. While that number was not repeated last year, they did manage to fill 36 lanes. Powers hopes to meet or exceed last year's total. But he said they will take as many bowlers that show up. Preregistration and walk-ins are welcome.
Entry fees include $150 per team (includes four bowlers and a lane sponsorship, three games and shoe rental), $100 for lane sponsorship, $75 for a team (includes 4 bowlers, 3 games and shoe rental) and $20 for an individual bowler (includes 3 games and shoe rental.)
Registration begins at noon and games begin promptly at 1 p.m.
There will also be a raffle of donated items, encompassing three tables, from local businesses. Walmart donated two flat-screen televisions, Powers said.
It will be a packed day of fun, he added, with silly games and activities for all involved. For instance, they will mix things up by suggesting backward bowling during certain times or have those who bowl a strike sit on and pop a balloon.
Several businesses and government offices will have teams in the extravaganza, making it an important afternoon of local community support.
It is all part of initiating fun, while also supporting a good cause.
The Hernando County Sheriff's Office created youth summer camps for children ages 6 to 12 during the months of June and July.
According to the website, "these sessions teach our young people about citizenship, leadership, cooperation, respect and environmental responsibilities."
The importance of rules and laws are reinforced through games, team sports, crafts and demonstrations.
The program is presented through a partnership with Eckerd Youth Alternatives and the Florida Sheriff's Association at no cost to Hernando County children.
The annual bowling event is responsible for funding these camps while providing a strong bonding experience for the community.
"This will be a blast for the entire family," Powers said. "It is a way to get families together where everyone can have a great time."
For more information about the 13th Annual Hernando County Sheriff's Youth Services Bowling Extravaganza, visit the website at www.hernando sheriff.org.
Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org