The Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes will have another fundraiser April 1. A scooter run, called Fools Ride Over Georgia (FROG), will begin in St. Marys and end in Helen. The Guinness Book of World Records may recognize it as the longest scooter ride. For more information, go to www.georgiasheriffs.org.
On Saturday, paintball enthusiasts and law enforcement agencies led the way in raising money for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes. The event, called Cops and Robbers, was an eight-hour paintball battle at the Low Country Paintball Club in Long County. In addition to local paintball competitors, members from the Ludowici Police Department, Long County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, Secret Service, MACE, ATF, FBI, Georgia Forestry Commission and the Department of Natural Resources also competed.
The one-day event, sponsored by the paintball club and the Long County Chamber of Commerce, attracted 167 participants and raised $2,700, according to chamber president and paintball
participant Kerry Hunt.
GSYH development officer Mike Leathers said the contest was the first fundraiser of its kind.
"There have been all kinds of fundraisers for our youth homes, but this is a first," he said.
According to Leathers, the GSYH sponsors children who live in unsafe environments or whose parents are incarcerated.
"We have campuses all over the state. We take kids out of bad environments where drugs may be involved or where a parent is sent off to prison and put them in a good place where they are taken care of," Leathers said.
"Most people have a misconception that we deal with bad kids, but our kids are good kids who just happen to be in unhealthy surroundings. We have kids in college and even have one young man who is a doctor in his second year of residency."
Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles added, "The GSYH has been around since 1959, and right now there are five [locations] out there. It’s amazing what they are doing at these homes in teaching these kids how to be good citizens. … I really appreciate what they are doing."
The cause garners support from local students as well.
"What these guys are doing out here is great, and I’m glad that I could come out and be a part of it," Savannah Technical College student Mike Jacobs said.
Billy Smith, the owner of the Low Country Paintball Club, said paintball has become a popular pastime in the United States. The team competition Saturday was an example of how the sport appeals to a variety of people, he said.
"We wanted to do this for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes because that is a great cause, but we also wanted to have it for all of these agencies out here and recognize them for what they do," Smith said.
Hunt said this was the first year for the Long County fundraiser, but organizers plan to make it an annual event.
"All I heard was laughs and giggles. It was an excellent day, and everyone had a fabulous time," Hunt said.