Charity spotlight: Springfield Advocates for Youth


Just like big-league baseball teams, children’s charities of the Ozarks employ staffs full of go-getters, and usually one emerges with so much energy for the job that it’s hard to ignore.

So when it comes to Springfield Advocates for Youth, you cannot miss Gary Camp. And that’s a great thing.

This summer – like so many summers before – Camp has been out all over the Ozarks trying to sell charity sweepstakes tickets to the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, a part of the PGA Tour’s annual Tour stop in Springfield.

The tournament has gifted almost $13 million for children’s charities in its 26-year history, and now you can help again. We have 43 children’s charities, including SAY, which is out all across the Ozarks selling TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes tickets. (The winners receive either a brand new Ford F-150 truck or $10,000.)

“It’s something to be proud of,” said Camp, named the winner of the Judy Weekley Volunteer of the Year Award in 2014. “When I sell a ticket, I tell them (its purpose), and they can’t believe it.”

About Springfield Advocates for Youth

The charity has been around for 26 years, with the past 12 years partnering with the PCCC. Bob Samuels is the chairman, and Camp and his wife, Gerrie, have been heavily involved with the PCCC for years.

SAY works with the state Department of Youth Services and its court-appointed teens who are placed in homes in Springfield. From there, the non-profit takes the lead. Its mission is simple: To offer high-risk area youth an opportunity to expand their horizons through educational and recreational programming and to enhance their self-development.

SAY serves about 36 high-risk youth who reside in three state-operated group homes. Depending on the program, the youths remain there from three to six months.

“Our intention is to keep one boy and get him on the right path,” Camp said, although success has stretches well beyond just one individual annually. “Our recidivism rate is the lowest in the nation.”

It’s no wonder Camp works tirelessly to sell PCCC tickets. The non-profit directs the money toward buying educational supplies, or helping teens earn a GED and buying their cap and gown for graduation. Beyond that, Springfield Advocates for Youth buys gas cards for families who live in poverty.

Additionally, the non-profit has helped steer teens toward a program at Ozarks Technical Community College in which the teens can learn valuable skills for the workforce.

All this while Springfield Advocates for Youth operates without a paid staff, meaning that any administrative costs go toward the mission.

Which is why you’ll see Camp always full of energy trying to sell the sweepstakes tickets.

In fact, he is among the recent winners of the Judy Weekley Volunteer of the Year Award, which is presented annually to a volunteer who exceeds all expectations and goes above and beyond what is asked of them. In addition to being SAY’s chief ticket seller, Gary serves as its Marshals Captain.

“The tournament has been a blessing,” Camp said. “It’s taken us from a real small point to a real good situation now. To me, there is no better fundraiser for children.”


BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses also can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the skyboxes on the 9th and 18th greens (with food badges), on-course signage and events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Businesses also can donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball & Charity Auction presented by Copy Products, Inc. and University Plaza.

The Ultimate
The Ultimate features air-conditioned seating and a chance to win a new Corvette Stingray.

WIN A NEW TRUCK: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket can win one of 500 daily gift cards as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT. It’s also good for a four-day tournament pass.

Win this truck

SEE THE FUTURE OF THE PGA TOUR: The PCCC is from Aug. 5-15, with the pros beginning play on Aug. 11 at Highland Springs Country Club. For tickets or other ways to assist, call the Price Cutter Charity Championship staff at 417-887-3400.

Dawie vander Walt shows his winners trophy after the final round of the Price Cutter Charity Championship at Highland Springs Country Club in Springfield on August 16, 2015.
Dawie vander Walt won the 2015 PCCC (Photo courtesy of StidzMedia)

HELP SPRINGFIELD ADVOCATES FOR YOUTH: To assist Springfield Advocates for Youth, the best way to help is through the PCCC. Call 417-837-3400.

Big crowd turns out for Kids Fun Day & Junior Golf Clinic

Kids Fun Day-3

For a Nixa family whose dad was diagnosed with leukemia last year, money is understandably tight these days. So, naturally, any affordable entertainment for their two girls catches their eye.

An event of the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper was just the right one on Friday. Jesse and Amber Varvel Howell joined about 120 others in attending the free Kids Fun Day and Junior Golf Clinic presented by the Missouri Golf Association at Highland Springs Country Club.

“He’s only 27, so this is nice to be able to do,” said Amber, a stay-at-home mom for her girls, Ariel and Madison, while Jesse is on disability — although, fortunately, he is in remission. The family spotted the event advertised on the social media site Facebook. “We just pay the bills, buy the groceries and hope we have a little bit left over.”

The Howell family and many others expressed appreciation for an event that offered a lot of fun for kiddos: Amberg Entertainment bounce houses; the Logan-Rogersville Fire Department’s full-size fire engine and a “smoke house”; and Brian Maloney, the Director of Golf at Highland Springs, led the Junior Golf Clinic. Andy’s Frozen Custard deserts and mouth-watering toppings didn’t last long, and a face-painter was on hand as well.

The event drew kids from the Boys & Girls Club, Music Therapy of the Ozarks, Dogwood Ranch and Macedonia Baptist Church pre-school.

“It’s a great opportunity to get out here and have fun,” said Lori Willadsen, Director of Macedonia’s pre-school. “And it didn’t cost a thing. They also learned about fire safety and got their faces painted. They’re having a ball.”

Check out out all of our photos on our Facebook page.
Check out out all of our photos on our Facebook page.

The PCCC, which has gifted almost $13 million in its 26-year history, continues to seek business sponsorships and has openings in several pro-ams. Call 417-887-3400 to throw your support behind this great cause. For a full schedule, go to the website at

The next event is the Price Cutter Charities Junior Golf Outing on July 27 at the Betty Allison Family Golf Center on the nine-hole Oscar Blom Golf Course in north Springfield. Many events beginning the first week of August will build up toward the pros playing Aug. 11-14 at Highland Springs County Club. For instance, the Michele Kiser Women’s Golf Clinic at Highland Springs and Fashion Show and the Betty & Bobby Allison’s Junior Pro-Am at Rivercut Golf Course are scheduled the first week of August.

The Kids Fun Day and Junior Golf Clinic was a success, said Taylor Frederich, who handles Sales and Administration for the PCCC and Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

“This is one of the opportunities of the tournament to reach out to the youth of the community,” Frederich said. “We take great pride in making sure that the kids remain involved in the tournament. After all, the tournament is aimed at the local youth charities.”

“Who doesn’t love the carnival atmosphere?” Frederich added. “This is a great time for them to come and play, exercise and interact with other children from the area.”