Businesses line up behind Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Day at the Lake has brought in more than $103,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte

Big Day at the Lake has brought in more than $103,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte. Thanks to corporate sponsors and individual donors, this is the most ever raised for BBBS since Big Day at the Lake began 12 years ago.

The Presenting Sponsors this year were Champion Tire, based in Cornelius, and PayPal, based in San Jose, Ca.

Big Day at the Lake “lays some foundation for kids to gain a brand-new perspective” on the world, says Kevin Mahl, co-founder of Champion Tire, a trucking and logistics company that supports the motorsports industry.

“We have always subscribed to the idea that every kid deserves a chance,” Mahl says, explaining that the experiences at-risk kids have at Big Day at the Lake can take them anywhere. ‘AFter hearing some of the stories, it seems like Big Day at the Lake provides a lot of perspective to more than just the kids as well.”

Paypal's John McCabe receives a big 'tip'

Paypal’s John McCabe receives a big ‘tip’

John McCabe, PayPal’s senior vice president for global operations, said the company’s core mission is making it easy for consumers and merchants reach their financial dreams.

“Strong family values and strong community values are the fundamental foundation of an individual’s success,” he said.  “Big Day at the Lake and Big Brothers and Sisters creates that foundation and the local PayPal team is proud and honored to help in any which way we can. Together we can enable the success of people dreams and aspirations in a way that is fun and inspiring.”

Lake Norman Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Duke Energy were the first sponsors of Big Day at the Lake in 2004. Since then, Big Day at the Lake has in some form or another impacted the lives of thousands of children.

“Jack and I are very proud to be supporters of Big Day at the Lake since year one 12 years ago. To know that this wonderful event has touched the lives of so many children in our community makes this ever so important to us,” said Robin Smith Salzman, co-owner of Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Cornelius and Gastonia Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

Lake Norman Chrysler's Jack and Robin Salzman

Lake Norman Chrysler’s Jack and Robin Salzman

Big Day at the Lake is a nearly year-long effort—run by an organizing committee and hundreds of volunteers—that culminates in a full day on Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake for hundreds of at-risk children served by BBBS from all over Mecklenburg County.

Kids swim, tube behind boats and interact with an entirely different set of people, thanks to Boat Hosts, police, firefighters and volunteers. The day culminates in a picnic for some 600 children and adults from all walks of life at Duke Energy Explorium.

Pat Golden has been a Boat Host for 10 years. “I get more out of it than the kids. I had a great mentor-father-coach growing up and it truly influenced my life. To see the smiles on these young children’s faces when they experience a boat ride or a tube ride is second to none,” he said. “We take things for granted in life and we are truly blessed to live the lives we lead.”

July 23 was officially Big Day at the Lake Day as well, thanks to elected officials in North Carolina, Mecklenburg County and Cornelius who issued proclamations.

Local restaurants and vendors also made it happen. Mama’s Pizza provided 100 hot fresh pies; Big Bite’z, buckets of fresh cole slaw; Port City Club, 600 hot dogs; Brixx, deep serving trays of hot pasta and salad; Tenders, well, tenders; and Brus

Champion Tire's Kevin Mahl and Jamie Rolewicz

Champion Tire’s Kevin Mahl and Jamie Rolewicz

ter’s Ice Cream, with flavors like vanilla, cotton candy and peanut butter.

It was an amazing operation logistically speaking, with enough food to feed an army and plenty of volunteers, some of them teams from Kiwanis, Charlotte Country Day and Lake Norman Realty and elected officials like Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla and Cornelius Commissioners Jim Duke and Woody Washam.

Charlotte Party Rentals provided water slides and a bounce house—otherwise known as “inflatable apparatus equipment” in the party rental industry. There was an official greeter on the picnic grounds, 600 Big Day at the Lake t-shirts, two hip dee-jays and plenty to do at the PayPal tents.

Big Day at the Lake has three simple goals:

  • Provide a day of fun on the lake for at-risk kids in Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Recruit “Bigs,” or mentors for BBBS kids.
  • Raise money for an effective, well-run organization.

Donna Dunlap, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters, said the unrestricted funds provided by Big Day at the Lake and help pay for the infrastructure that is required to make matches happen.

Big Day at the Lake Organizing Committee

Auctions: Liz Marlow

Boat Hosts: Scarlett Hays

Event Planning: Heidi Hansen

Food: Tracy Yochum

Fundraising: Della Stafford

Design/Support: Stephen Nance

Event Logistics: Brad Daubenmire

Picnic: Angela Swett

Picnic Logistics: Chris Epps

Public Relations: Dave Vieser

Secretary: Gail Williams

Social media: Marcia Lynn

Volunteers: Jennifer Kraftchick

“We are on a quest to bring our one to one purposeful mentoring experience to more children. We feel 1,552 children currently served is great, but there are so many more children in need in our community,” she said.

Thank you Volunteers! Caitlin Sellers, Susan Daubenmire, Emily Daubenmire, Richard Pappas, Victoria Jankoski, Valerie Hillman, Fahad Firdausi, Heidi Hansen Tischer, Kellee Crofutt, Robert Rickard, John Aneralla, Drew Witman, Robin Pugh, Sarah Cothren, Alyssa Ferri, Mary Eagens, Ryan Robinson, Maggie Salemme, Victoria Jankoski, Valerie Hillman, Natasha Marcus, Kaitlyn Brown, Thomas Smith, John Donnelly, Jennifer Spence, Will Putnam, Abigail Huffman, Will Putnam, Debra Allebach, Kim Snyder, Janet Gillman, Cathy Bentz, Jim Duke, Bob Van Buskirk, Debbie Monroe, Brenda Hall, Carrie Lewis, Woody Washam, Sharon Washam, Vicki Kerecman, Joni Dunn, Victoria Jankoski, Valerie Hillman, Carrie Lewis, Drew Witman, Nickolas Jordan, Gary Garcia, Kevin Poole, LKN Young Professionals, Lake Norman Realty, Lake Norman Kiwanis, Country Day Football Team

Thank you Boat Hosts! Fred Heck, Dan Williams Marty Fox, Terry Edmundson, Dennis Kazmierczak, Jeremy Yaekel, Karen and Todd Vance, Chris Cawley, George Brinzey, Peter Boyd, Bill Huertas, Bob Tubbs, Bob and Diane Smith, Charles Ventimiglia, Chris and Gina Fieber, Douglas Marion, Jason Hall, John and Stephanie LaStella, Jose Edwards, Larry and Debbie Vandeventer, Rob Walley, Rocky and Kim Mehta, Ryan Riggleman, Steve Stephenson, Eric and Elaine, Hartwick, John Signet, Dennis Sorenson, Elizabeth Hickey, Brian Buckley, Josh Dobi, Calvin Newman, Katy Bartley, Mike Bartely, Larry W. Riggs, Jim Leonard, Tom Simonson, Rob Eby, Mike Dunn, Denis Schmider, David Yochum, April Beckman, Robert and Jill Holman, Sebastian Williams, Karla Meador, Michael  Saxton, Kate Gaither, Kevin Weisner, Michael Miller, Kevin Mikeworth, Jonathan and Carmen Canady, Sid Foushee, Megan and Alex Chasnis, Steve Paynter, Alicia & Adam Bowman, Blake Schell, Bob Hallman, Brian Sisson, Brian Coffey, Brian Gladys, Brian Hines, Carl Hornug, Carol and David Houle, Charles Knoedler, Colin Furcht, Dave Patrick, David Falvey, David Scattergood, Derik Harris, Dominick J Carbone, Elizabeth & Mark Miescher-Clemens, Gary Fagan, Greg & Donna Sobiech, J.C. Stevens, James Kennedy, Jared Barrow, Jeff Riecken, Jeff &, Crystal Sossoman, Jeffrey Blum, Jill Gaillard, Jim Owens, Joe Miller, John McClelland, Jonathan Garrick, Kenneth Ziegler, Kevin Shea, Kirk Beatty, Kyle & Linda Taylor, Laura Cleavenger, Liza Grainda, Marc Jacobsen, Michelle Kibel, Mike Harms, Mike Hartnett, Mike McClelland, Mike Carlet, Mike Snowdy, Nancy Kura, Noreen O’Reilly Morris, Pat Golden, Paul Newton, Paul W Hassler, Randall Lawrence, Rick Cushing, Rick and Jeanette Stikleleather, Rod Woodard, Ron Bruce, Scarlett Hays, Sean Higbea, Stafford Bailey, Steve DeGraw, Steven Landau, Tara Grist, Tim Beck, Tom and Ann Dutton, Tracey and Dan Stehle, Vincent Watkins


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