The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula are looking to sweeten their success this year.
The clubs’ 24th annual auction, “Simply Sweet,” takes place this Saturday at the Sequim club with 300 attendees expected to enjoy fine dining from The Cedars at Dungeness and to bid on big-ticket items such as trips and a private cruise in the silent and live auctions.
Club officials hope to see better results than 2011 when both the auction and Campaign for Kids saw shortfalls. The community stepped up to fill the most of the gaps after each event.
This year’s auction has a goal of $175,000, which is $25,000 less than 2011.
Janet Gray, resource development director, said they reviewed feedback from last year’s participants and made a few adjustments to make the evening go more smoothly.
The silent auction will be shorter, KONP on-air personality Todd Ortloff will be master of ceremonies and there will be live music and dancing led by Charlie Ferris, a singer/performer.
“Depending on the success of the music and dancing, we might have after-hours tickets for just that,” Gray said.
This auction marks the first price increase for tickets, from $100 to $125, to offset the cost of food and other expenses.
“The musician is one of our ways of saying thanks for still supporting us even with the increase,” Gray said. “We also want to keep adding to it to keep this one of the premier events on the peninsula. If we don’t kick it up a notch, we could be surpassed.”
The evening follows the sweet theme by remaking the Sequim club to feel like an old-fashioned candy shop with pinwheels, lollipops and more than 100 cake plates handmade by students. Attendees are offered the chance to bid on local goodies baked by community members and bakeries.
Gray said support continues to pour in with donations and volunteers. Seats are still available.
Those who cannot attend can get involved other ways. Gray suggests donating a silent auction item, volunteering time before or after the auction, and/or giving to the Campaign for Kids next spring.
Len Lewicki, the clubs’ board president, said the financial impact of the auction is huge for the clubs in Port Angeles and Sequim.
“How we do in the auction on Saturday is going to determine how we look at year’s end,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of fat in our budget and if we fall short, the first thing we take a look at is what can we cut that is nonessential. Then we do an employee head count but if we start cutting adult supervision, then we cut the amount of kids we can serve.”
Despite the fear of another low performance, fundraisers have done well this year for the club, including the Campaign for Kids, which exceeded its goal to bring in more than $90,000.
Lewicki said in the past few years past board president Jerry Sinn and other volunteers and staff helped put the clubs in good financial shape.
He said the clubs’ goals next year are to continue to increase the number of students attending the clubs and begin forming plans for maintenance and capital improvements to the 12-year-old Sequim club.
“One thing that’s sometimes missed by (retired) residents of Sequim is the tremendous need for people to serve the community and one way to keep services high is to keep people here and provide for their families,” Lewicki said. “We need to provide for those kids and continue to be a better place to raise families as well as a great place to retire.”
Contact the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, 400 W. Fir St., at 683-8095 or visit www.bgc-op.org.