CBGC auction shines for youths' brighter future

The committee behind the Culver Boys & Girls Club's annual auction and dinner event is recuperating after another evening of sparkling and convivial success -- to the tune of some $44,000 and counting raised for the club, according to committee chair Ginny Munroe.

Held Friday evening at the Culver Academies' Lay Dining Center, festively decorated for the occasion, and catered by the dining hall itself -- under the direction of Lee Wilhite and head chef Larry Surrisi -- the event was attended by some 200 area residents under the theme of "Building Brighter Futures."

Highlights included nationally acclaimed magical transformational duo Quick Change (Dania Kaseeva and David Mas), who elicited a steady stream of gasps as Kaseeva in particular flew inexplicably through some dozen outfits in the course of minutes, bringing down the house with what appeared to be a near-instant and complete change in attire behind a momentary wall of falling confetti.

A swath of items, as in the past, awaited bidders on the silent auction tables, but high-profile items received special attention at the hands of volunteer auctioneer Carl Kaser, including a Mackinac Island getaway, Kentucky Derby and Oaks Race tickets, a side of corn-fed, hormone-free beef, hundreds of dollars worth of gift certificates to Culver area venues, prime tickets to a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game, Indianapolis Colts football tickets, hand-made framed artwork by CBGC members, and surely the highlight of the auction: one of the last signed football jerseys from outgoing Indianapolis Colts player Peyton Manning, combined with a signed jersey from the Colts new first-round draft pick, Andrew Luck (Culver head of schools John Buxton and his wife Pam were lucky winners of the jerseys).

During the auction, Munroe thanked fellow committee members Carol Zeglis, Cheryl Rhodes, Leslie Sheperd, and new member Barbara Shaffer. She credited member Dianne Osborn with securing over $25,000 worth of items from around the country, for the auctions. Munroe also lauded CBGC member Jim Szymusiak for securing or donating "hoards" of items for the live auction (the side of beef, for example, came from Szymusiak's own farm and was fed by his own hand, according to the event program). She also expressed the group's appreciation for the help of CBGC board member Alan Loehr, alumni director at the Academies, for his assistance in Academies-related matters.

Carol Zeglis shared with the audience her -- and the event committee and CBGC board's -- appreciation for the cooperation and assistance of the Buxtons, for "really great leader" Ginny Munroe as current CBGC board president and chair of the auction committee for the past six or seven years, and each of the other committee members, whom she dubbed "the sensational six."

CBGC unit director Cory Monnier told the audience club members spent around 4,000 hours at the club during the month of May alone.
"Where would they be if not for the Culver Boys & Girls Club?" he asked, adding many might be unsupervised and not with the caring adults of the club staff and volunteers. "This would not be possible if not for the people in this room."
Munroe, speaking to the Citizen, concurs.

“Because we had a generous benefactor underwrite the expenses of the event, every dollar we raised goes directly to the club and the kids. These funds allow us to provide our youth with homework help, fun activities, and field trips to places like the Ft. Wayne Museum and the Indianapolis Kids Museum.”

Forty-seven percent of the CBGC's annual revenue comes from its annual auction, as well as other volunteer giving. The club, which has over 350 members (mostly from kindergarten through 6th grade), is currently operating its daily summer program, open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“Simply put,” adds Munroe, “the people in this community are the ones building brighter futures for the kids. That’s an amazing statement about the community we live in. Truly, Culver is unique in how the people living here give back. Our club is just one of the many organizations that raise funds for their causes. We are grateful that these same organizations contribute to us and we are grateful that this community prioritizes its kids. I can’t imagine living anywhere else when I take a step back from all the work, planning, and details that go into an event like this. When you step back from it, you see just what it means to live in a special place. It makes all the work you put into an event like this worth it.

“Thank you, Culver, for helping us build brighter futures,” she concludes.

The CBGC may be reached at 574-25-0103. More information on club membership, programs, and giving and volunteer opportunities is available online at www.bgcculver.org.