How It All Got Started
This is the story of how the West Milford Highlander Band Golf Classic got started.
Planting the Seed
Back in November of 2011, on a mild autumn evening while sitting on the porch looking out at the lake, my random thoughts were soon to be transformed in a way I could not have imagined at the time. My daughter Ashley came out on the porch and announced she need to talk to me. Thinking this would be one of those chats where I was to be a sounding board for her to verbalize the topic, in all its detail and guide her through the options to a tidy conclusion could not have been further from the mark…
What she told me was, "Dad... I have a friend in the band whose heart is breaking, because she wants to go on the Scotland Performance Tour and her family can't afford to send her". Having two of my own children in the band, going on the tour I was in no position to help Ashley’s' friend directly. That pulled at my heart strings. I thought, what a shame it was that there were some kids in the band that want to go on the tour, but family finances would prevent them from participating in such a profound learning experience. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that occurs once every four years… once in a band students high school career.
This got me thinking, "how can I help Ashley's friend and others that are in this situation". The 2012 Scotland trip was around $3750 per person, not counting the other costs like spending money, passports, incidentals, etc., so thinking it through the math works like this:
Rounding out the estimated cost for the next Scotland Performance Tour (spring 2016) will likely be around $4,000 per person times 125 Highlander Band members puts the total trip cost at around $500,000. We have 4 year cycle to raise funds to offset the individuals cost of the trip which places the annual target for fund raising at $125,000.
Now as the Band Parents know, we do a lot of different fund raisers throughout the year and the majority of this money goes to the operational budget. The Highlander Band performs at every football game, home or away and competes in an average of nine competitions per year including the Yamaha Cup at Met Life Stadium. They also march in the Polish Day and St. Patricks’ Day parades in New York. Every time the band "rolls" there are five busses and the "The Beast", our affectionate nick name for the 28 foot straight truck that moves the equipment, needed to carry them to the events. Most of these events are after hours or on the week-end so we are talking about overtime for the drivers and operational costs for the busses. My point is there is not much left in the operational budget after covering these expenses and other capital purchases. So I would have to come up with some fund raising programs that would be dedicated to offsetting the costs of the major trips the band makes while also providing a mechanism for a scholarship fund to assist those students with the desire to participate in these performance tours but lack the resources.
So then it hits me, a golf outing could be the vehicle to generate the income needed to provide the offsets to reduce the cost of the major Performance Tours. There are actually two Performance tours, the Scotland Tour that happens once every four years and the Domestic Tour every 2nd year to Disney World, Hershey Park or other destinations as determined by DR. Mac the Band Director. On the scholarship, we are adding the 50/50 raffle sponsored by the West Milford Rotary Club to generate funds for this purpose.
The Golf Committee is dedicated to building this event year over year to achieve these goals. Many of the committee member’s children have already participated in the Scotland Performance Tour, yet they continue to give of themselves to make this a successful and viable event that will grow with time, and provide the mechanism to facilitate the means for every Highlander Band member the opportunity to participate.
With Highlander Pride,
Robert Law, Golf Committee Chairman
Growing the Event