Jared Sweet Golf Outing: The Perfect Socially-Distanced DIY Event!
Sue and Jeff Sweet have held the Jared Sweet Golf Outing for 14 years. Thankfully they were able to alter their 2020 event and make it a fun, safe and successful socially distanced event that raised $15,000 to support PPMD. Sue shares how they shifted gears to make their event happen despite the pandemic, and her advice for other families looking to put on a safe event.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your event and why you chose to do it.
A: Every June for the last 14 years we have held the Jared Sweet Golf Outing in honor of our son and PPMD. My husband enjoys golf outings and running, so we started with what we know. Mitchell’s Run Through Rockford [another event benefitting PPMD also held in Michigan] was already established, which left golf. When Jared was diagnosed at age 5 we felt helpless, but fundraising gave us a feeling of action. We aren’t scientists or doctors, but we can organize events.
Q: How did you fundraise?
A: Fundraising came from golf fees, business sponsorships, hole sponsors and general donations. To request sponsorships, we have a request letter that we send each year. We are blessed that a local business, Alliance Financial & Insurance Agency, donates enough to pay for our event in full. This year was no different – their donation covered all our expenses so we were able to maximize donations to PPMD.
Q: How did you adapt your event to make it COVID-safe?
A: This year because of COVID restrictions, we had to cancel the silent auction portion of our event. We also knew that businesses were hurting financially and didn’t want add to their burden by asking them to donate items. As such, instead of our usual solicitation letter, we sent a thank you for their previous years of support. We let them know we would be listing their business or family as a sponsor as our way of supporting them. They could send a donation if able, but it wasn’t necessary this time around. In the end, a majority still sent a donation that fit their budget.
Also, we altered the outing to a “day of golf,” rather than our traditional shot gun start where all teams start on a different hole at the same time, and Arrowhead Golf Course allowed us a day of reservation times. Teams were able to golf at a time they scheduled. We provided a boxed lunch of a hamburger, bag of chips and unlimited nonalcoholic drinks.
Q: Is there anything you would do differently next time?
A: We can’t think of anything we would do differently, other than make a decision sooner. We debated on canceling, but so many people craved some normalcy and wanted to still support us and PPMD. Josh and Kristin Bruwer, owners of Arrowhead Golf Course, were a huge help as well. They have been there all 12 years that we’ve held the event at that course.
Q: What is your advice for someone planning an event in 2021?
A: If you have the energy and support, then do it. Think through the safety measures required by the local health department, communicate these expectations to participants, and be mindful of your family and child’s needs. Jared did not attend our 2020 event because of COVID concerns. This year we hope he and our family will be vaccinated by the summer so he can participate.
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You too can join the fight to end Duchenne! Reach out to the PPMD team so we can help you create your personalized DIY virtual event for your community!Create a DIY Event >