Annual Golf Tournament Raises Funds
for Give Kids The World

by Keith Miller and Jeremy Schoolfield

Industry professionals came together Sunday morning at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club in Orlando for the 14th Annual IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament for Give Kids The World. It was a time of celebration, as the first official event of IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 offered the chance for old friends to catch up with one another and new friends to be made.

But this year was extra special as it marks the 30th anniversary of Give Kids The World (GKTW), the tournament’s fundraising beneficiary and IAAPA’s longtime charity partner. Located in nearby Kissimmee, GKTW’s 79-acre resort provides accommodations and entertainment to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. In 2015, GKTW welcomed more than 7,700 families from around the world.

“It’s such a special place for our industry,” said Disney’s Greg Hale, who will become 2017 IAAPA Chairman of the Board Tuesday. “To help fulfill wishes for those children is something only our industry can do. There is no other charity that fits so well with IAAPA, to make children’s dreams come true.”

Will Morey of Morey’s Piers echoed Hale’s thoughts: “The golf and camaraderie is great, but GKTW is really what it’s all about. We’re privileged to be involved with it. The Village is a marvel to me, from where they started to where they are now. I’m in awe of the work they do.”

Tom Burnett, chairman of accesso, said there were “loads of great reasons” to play in the tournament: “It’s a wonderful way to give to a wonderful charity, to hit some golfballs in Florida, and to spend some time with our peers at the beginning of the show week when everyone is full of energy.”

Frank Bianchi with Universal Orlando was once director of construction at GKTW and was happy to be playing in the tournament: “GKTW is a charity very near and dear to my heart, and I want to support IAAPA and GKTW and give back.”

IAAPA’s Ace sponsor for the tournament was Ride Entertainment Group, and Chief of Business Development Adam Sandy was on hand to lend his support. “On the practical side, GKTW is an awesome charity, and we’ve brought three foursomes from our company to do that,” he said. “On the business side, it’s one of the better networking events at the show each year.”

Rob Decker of Cedar Fair was thinking about how GKTW’s mission mirrors the broader attractions industry: “All of us are about families and kids, so to see such great support from all across the industry for GKTW is really rewarding.”

Gina Claasen with Herschend Family Entertainment has a long history with GKTW, serving as an IAAPA Show Ambassador in her youth and volunteering at GKTW. “The kids at GKTW are just amazing, and it’s great that GKTW gives them the chance to do things together as a family.”

The winning foursome at Sunday’s tournament hailed from Congo River Golf: Jason Kielmann, Christian Vozza, Shawn Kirsch, and Andrew Callies.


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