Visually Impaired Fishing Tournament Celebrates 32 OBX Yrs
A great feel good story about how compassionate the Outer Banks community is, this release from the folks at the Lions Club gets the Outer Banks ready for the annual Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) Fishing Tournament October 20-22. the VIP Tournament is the largest in the world.
They’re coming; they’re coming! Make them feel welcome!
32nd Annual Lions Club Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) Fishing Tournament to be held Oct. 20-22
“They’re coming; they’re coming! Make them feel welcome!” If you start seeing that slogan or hearing more about it, it’s because North Carolina organizers of the 32nd Annual Lions Club Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) Fishing Tournament are working to build awareness at home this year in preparation for the Oct. 20-22 event.
Executive Director Gwen White explained: “While this tournament has been a huge success here on the Outer Banks for three decades now, there are still plenty of local residents and businesses unaware of what we’re doing and why, how many people it affects, what it takes to pull off this massive undertaking or the economic impact it has on the area.”
Massive, indeed – four local fishing piers and two headboats will be at the heart of the fishing action hosting 525 VIPs and their sighted guests, along with 375 volunteers, including nearly 125 high school and college students.
“This truly is a community event,” said Bob Walton, president of the NC Lions VIP Board of Directors. “This year, we’re starting early getting the word out because we want the collective communities of the Outer Banks to be ready to roll out the welcome mat for these fishing VIPs coming not only from across North Carolina, but also Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Canada.”
It does take a village, added White. The event is hosted annually by the First Flight, Manteo, Nags Head, Wanchese, Lower Currituck, Plymouth and the Columbia Lions clubs. It is the largest service project of its kind in the world. “We couldn’t do it without the community. This event features thousands of dollars of donated goods and in-kind services. We would welcome anyone who wants to join in the fun to come on board,” she added.
Fishing isn’t all that these extra special visitors take part in. Another focus of the three-day event is learning independent living skills thanks to sessions by service providers and community agencies. For instance, one big hit in a previous year was makeup application, easily done for a sighted person, but a skill not easy to master for someone with impaired vision.
Contact Gwen White, 252-441-4966, to find out more about these ways to get involved in the VIP Fishing Tournament:
- Volunteer for the week of Oct. 19-22 to work the tournament at the fishing sites, dining facilities or awards banquet;
- Offer to share or teach your talents to the participants during their stay;
- Adopt-a-Fisherman with a monetary donation to offset that VIP’s travel expenses;
- Inform any visually impaired people you know who might be interested in applying to attend the tournament;
- Donate funds or goods for use during the tournament;
- Enter the Charity Golf Ball Drop on Nov. 17, where donors can purchase one of 1,500 numbered golf balls for $25 each. The balls are dropped by helicopter onto a green at Sea Scape Golf Links, and the ball that drops into or is closest to the cup takes home $10,000 cash;
And above all, “They’re coming, they’re coming,” so when you see any of the VIPs here in October, please make them feel welcome.