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Looking to ‘Light the Future’

The 38th annual SCV Boys & Girls Club Benefit Auction will be held June 13 at Mann BioMedical Park

Posted: May 30, 2009 7:28 p.m.
Updated: May 31, 2009 4:55 a.m.

John Mahaffey, left, Anna Ott and Greg Amsler address the crowd attending the VIP auction preview night for the SCV Boys & Girls Club.

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The VIP kickoff night for the 38th annual SCV Boys & Girls Club Benefit Auction was held Thursday evening under the spreading oaks of the Sand Canyon estate home of Richard and Marion Sandnes.

Guests dined on mini gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, salads, meatballs and pasta as they perused the 60-plus pages of the auction catalog.

Greg and Chell Amsler will serve their second year as co-chairs of this year’s benefit auction which will be held Saturday, June 13 at
Mann BioMedical Park in Valencia.

“We really need everyone’s support right now. We all know how the economy is and how all the nonprofits are suffering,” said Anna Ott, president of the SCV Boys & Girls Club Foundation. “We don’t want to have to cut any programs for our kids — our kids are important to us, so it is really important to support the SCV Boys & Girls Club. I hope to see everyone at the auction. It is going to be a wonderful auction.”

One of the premiere social events in the SCV the annual Boys & Girls Club auction began in the early 1970s under the helm of Tony Newhall. The first auction — dubbed “The Auction of Thrills” — was held at the Ranch House Inn (off Magic Mountain Parkway at Interstate 5). The evening raised nearly $4,000 for the club.

The list of auction chairs reads like a “who’s who” of the SCV. In addition to the Amslers, past chairs have included Tom Lee, Alan and Rise Barabakow, Jane and Bert Boeckmann, John and Suzy Reardon, Del Holland, Don and Cheri Fleming and Bob Kellar and Kathy Keysor Smith.

Greg Amsler said it is important for the SCV to support the Boys & Girls Club this year.

“Now more than ever it is so important to support the nonprofits. The SCV Boys & Girls Club and other nonprofits are hurting throughout the United States,” Amsler said. “There are nonprofits closing throughout the United States. It is so important to keep the Boys & Girls Club here in the SCV active to help the kids. This club helps kids get a good start. It keeps them away from bad influences.”

Barbara Morris, a director of the SCV Boys & Girls Club Foundation, said the current state of the world leaves parents with enough on their plates.

“In economic times like this families are more stressed than ever and that stress trickles down to kids, too,” she said. “Parents are out of work, or they are really struggling to pay bills and they don’t need to be worrying about their children. They need their children to have a place to go where they’re supervised, a place where there are good healthy activities. It gives parents one less thing to worry about when they have a Boys & Girls Club to help and that’s one reason you should support the Boys & Girls Club now.”

The SCV Boys & Girls Club was founded 41 years ago in Newhall. The club now provides services for nearly 3,000 children and supports large facilities in Newhall and Canyon Country as well as a satellite program in Val Verde.

The theme for this year’s auction is “Lighting Our Future, a Black and White Benefit.” The live auction will feature more than 40 items including several Maui and Hawaiian vacations, trips to the Bahamas and a Princess Cruise to Mexico or the Caribbean. Other unique items include a Lakers VIP fan package, diamond jewelry, a Fitness Edge Boot Camp experience, a day of sailing, a one year membership at Tournament Players Club and a Six Flags Magic Mountain “picnic in the park” for 100.

Sports memorabilia includes an Eddie Murray autographed baseball bat and an autographed bat signed by Manny Ramirez.

The silent auction includes more than 200 items including Dodger tickets, professional services, merchandise and a host of other goodies.

John Mahaffey, president of the SCV Boys & Girls Club governing board, said the club needs the community to support this year’s auction. He urged attendees to bring guests who might not have attended the auction in the past.

“I know you hear every year that we need more help more than ever, but this year we really, really do need your help more than ever,” he said. “It’s a tough year and a lot of things are going on, but we can pull together all of us. I appreciate everyone’s help, all the volunteers, everyone. This year bring people out to the auction, even if they don’t buy, bring your friends out.”

Raffle tickets are also being sold at $100 per ticket which entitle the winner to choose any live auction item — with the exception of the head table to the 2010 benefit auction.

“There are Boys & Girls Clubs that are closing throughout the country  right now and it is up to us to make sure that this club is not one of them,” said Amsler. “Open your wallets, remember it is for the kids — invite your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers and bring them out to the auction. Even if you don’t get a table, even if you think you’re not going to buy anything, you never know.”
Ott suggested that attendees who don’t want to buy at the auction instead sponsor a child at the club during the “Heroes and High Hopes” solicitation at the auction.

“The actual cost to have a child at the Boys & Girls Club for the year is $500, but we only charge $36 a year,” she said. “We are hoping people will sponsor a child at $500. If you can find it in your heart to sponsor a child, or two, or three, so we don’t have to turn them away, that is something we don’t want to do. These are trying times and we understand, but kids are important.”

Jim Ventress, chief professional officer of the SCV Boys & Girls Club, said the community should support the auction and have fun, too.

“People are going to have fun. It is going to be a fun evening. We are going to throw a party for the community, the way the economy is right now people need to have fun,” Ventress said. “If we can make some money that would be wonderful. People should come to have a good time and to support a good cause. I came out in 1985 and I can’t believe that I’ve been here almost 25 years.”

Ventress said the auction takes more than 200 volunteers to stage.

“To see the kind of support we’ve received and to see the club grow because of the volunteers and because of the people who have contributed to our mission — that’s what makes being in this community wonderful.”

As the special VIP evening wound down Richard Sandnes said he was happy to be able to help the SCV Boys & Girls Club.

“I’ve been involved with the club for 15 years or so. When things are tough, like they are now, we really have to get out and support the club because it means a lot to the kids. I think it is very important,” said. “Our house is always open and we enjoy entertaining — it makes it better when you entertain for a good cause.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley 38th annual Benefit Auction, Mann BioMedical Park, 25104 Rye Canyon Loop, Valencia.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $75 each (dinner included) or $25 a pair (no dinner). A complete list of auction items can be found online at Reservations can be made at (661) 254-3063.



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