Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament raises thousands for AYF scholarships

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Dozens of golfers and volunteers were on hand for an afternoon of sport and fun at the recent Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament, as well as to raise more than $55,000 in net revenue for scholarship funds.

The golf tournament began in 2001 to honor the legacy of passionate AYF champion Donald Danforth Jr. Though the pandemic forced its cancelation in 2020, the AYF and presenting sponsor Nestlé Purina PetCare were pleased to welcome golfers back for the 19th time at a new location, Algonquin Golf Club.

The golf tournament is the AYF’s signature fundraiser, raising more $1.5 million for youth to experience exceptional programming at Miniwanca and Merrowvista. The funds generated through the tournament provide financial assistance to inspire dozens of youth each year to discover their best selves.

Advancement Manager Annie Oliverio said the donors’ generosity was greatly appreciated. “The funds raised at this event open the doors to so many new opportunities for youth across the country who will be able to discover their best selves through programs at Miniwanca and Merrowvista, the National Leadership Conference, and our Community and School Programs,” she said.

Senior Director of Advancement Liz Marshall said it was wonderful to connect with so many supporters in person while also maintaining safe COVID-19 protocols at the open-air event.

“Many of the golfers and volunteers are lifelong Founder Friends who look forward to this tournament each year,” Marshall said. “It was such a pleasure to catch up with so many familiar faces and thank them personally for contributing to our mission.”

Participants also heard from new AYF board chair DD Danforth-Burlin and President Anna Kay Vorsteg before ceding the microphone to 16-year-old Miniwanca camper Jack Kuhlman.

Clad in his recently earned rugby, Kuhlman spoke to the attendees about how the AYF has affected his life and issued a dare to the assembled guests. “I dare you all of you to do something kind for a stranger. Give them a compliment, pick something up for them, or even just give them a smile to brighten their day – anything that will help spread that camp spirit just a little further.”

Vorsteg said she loved that Kuhlman challenged everyone to be their own best selves. “Jack’s speech was such a powerful example of the effect AYF programs have on youth – and the effect youth can have on us,” Vorsteg said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

The AYF hopes to return the Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament to its original month of May in 2022. Check out some of our favorite moments below: