Charity spotlight: Champion Athletes of the Ozarks

Colson Saner and his friend have been greatly supported by Champion Athletes of the Ozarks.
Colson Saner and his friend have been greatly supported by Champion Athletes of the Ozarks.

Every kid who has played sports just wants to feel like a big-leaguer. To put on the uniform. To be part of the team. To play a game they see so many others playing.

Yet when Colson Saner was about 7, his parents wondered if those days would ever happen again. Sure, Colson participated in organized sports. But as he grew older, years after being born three months premature, they began to see worrisome signs – signs that ultimately led to a diagnosis of autism and cerebral palsy.

“We went to the school counselor and that’s when we got involved in Champion Athletes,” Melissa Saner said. “It’s really a physical challenge for them to fit into the mainstream (sports). But we’ve found Champion Athletes, and they’ve become a second family.”

Indeed, the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is proud to partner with Champion Athletes of the Ozarks, which offers sports opportunities for children and adults with disabilities.

The golf tournament, part of the PGA’s Web.com Tour, has generated almost $14 million for Ozarks-area charities in its 27-year history.

Now here’s your chance to help Colson and all other Champion Athletes.

About Champion Athletes

Champion Athletes of the Ozarks helps those with developmental disabilities.
Champion Athletes of the Ozarks helps those with developmental disabilities.

Through sports training and competition, Champion Athletes builds self-esteem, self-confidence and social skills for children and adults with disabilities – and does so in a positive environment.

Even better, Champion Athletes also has a main focus on life skills by offering classes in reading, basic money, math, storm preparedness and a wellness and fitness program.

It’s operated by Director Susan Miles.

“It is a privilege for me to see our individuals reach their full potential,” Miles said. “It is an honor to know that I had a part in their growth.”

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Champion Athletes was formed in March 2002 and established to enhance athletes’ lives, build successful individuals and to expand their opportunities through sports training, competition and new activities. Most importantly, the programs are offered at no cost.

That’s a bonus for the Saner family, but not the reason they continue participating in Champion Athletes.

“If we’re not doing a regular school or family function, we’re with Champion Athletes two or three times a week,” Melissa said. “Susan and her husband, Danny, have become some of our best friends.”

Saner couldn’t say enough positive things, and understandably so. Colson participates mostly in basketball and soccer, but he’s also played many other sports thanks to Champion Athletes.

“People look at it as a sports organization, and it is to a point,” Melissa said. “But it also builds life skills. It’s also a place for other moms like me to talk about things only we understand. We’re all in the same boat together, and it’s like we all feel like a family. So it’s wonderful to be with this organization.”

UNITED WE STAND FOR KIDS

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HELP CHAMPION ATHLETES OF THE OZARKS: To help the Springfield-based non-profit in any way or if you have a child or adult eager to participate in sports, call Champion Athletes at 417-890-1599.

CORPORATE SKYBOXES on the 9th and 18th greens, and tents on the 18th fairway

These include covered seating and all-inclusive badges into the Jackson Brothers of the South VIP Tent (food and beverages).

Watch from the "front fow" on the 18th green
Watch from the “front fow” on the 18th green

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PRO-AMS: Play with a pro & enjoy top courses such as Highland Springs, Buffalo Ridge Golf Course, LedgeStone Country Club, Millwood Golf & Racquet Club & Fremont Hills Country Club. Includes a great golfer gift package, continental breakfast, lunch, on-course beverages, team photos & trophies. Check out our list of golf experiences

The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear in 2016.
The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear to the 2016 Price Cutter Pro-Am.

ON-COURSE SPONSORSHIPS

Bleachers, water coolers and much more can help generate interest in your business, and will go a long way toward helping kids in the Ozarks. See our full menu of options.

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HONORING OUR HEROES PROGRAM

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A great way to support military, law enforcement and first responders as well Ozarks children’s charities — as they receive free admission as well as food and drinks thanks to your sponsorships. Follow this link

$25 TLC PROPERTIES SWEEPSTAKES TICKETS

They are only $25 each, and gives the ticket-buyer a chance to win a 2017 Ford F-150, or $10,000, plus daily prizes during the tournament. Check out the details here.

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GOLF BALL & CHARITY AUCTION

Sponsored by Copy Products Inc. and University Plaza, this event is on Tuesday, August 8 at University Plaza Convention Center. We’ll also have electronic bidding at bidpal.net! Register at this link.

THE ULTIMATE presented by Custom Metalcraft & Ridewell Suspensions

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Win a 2017 Corvette Stingray, as a $1,200 buy-in guarantees a 1-in-100 chance of winning the car and a 1-in-10 chance of winning $1,000. You’ll also receive many other perks, including air-conditioned seating on the 18th green during the PCCC along with clubhouse parking, a luxurious dinner on Friday, August 4 at Highland Springs Country Club as well as breakfast and lunch in the clubhouse daily during the PCCC, plus his and her shirts.

FOR ANY SPONSORSHIP, CALL 417-887-3400