AMIkids Beaufort again cancels croquet fundraiser

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From staff reports

For the second year, AMIkids Beaufort is canceling its almost-30-year-old croquet picnic fundraiser at Brays Island due to concerns about spreading COVID-19.

In conversations with Brays Island, host of the event, and among the local AMIkids Board of Trustees, it was decided to skip another year of this popular gathering of several hundred people, said John Williams, chair of the AMIkids Beaufort board.

“We took a lot of things into account, including more people starting to get the vaccines,” Williams said in a release. “Ultimately, though, we agreed that bringing together hundreds of people for our croquet fundraiser was still too big of a health risk for May.”

The event, held the first weekend of May, typically raises more than $100,000 of much-needed funds for the non-profit residential education and treatment program for boys who made bad choices and ended up in the court system.

AMIkids is part of a national organization but is locally governed. For 29 years, the Croquet Picnic has been the primary means of raising money to help the program succeed.

Last year, the first time the event had been canceled since it started, supporters still contributed about $100,000 through online donations and checks to AMIkids Beaufort.

There are options available to help financially support the AMIkids Beaufort. For easy and secure online giving directly to the Beaufort program, visit https://donate.amikids.org/AMIkidsBeaufort to make either a one-time gift or monthly pledge.

Checks also may be mailed to AMIkids Beaufort, 60 Honeybee Island Road, Seabrook, S.C. 29940.

“We are hoping that friends of AMIkids Beaufort and those who have supported us so strongly in the past at the annual Croquet Picnic will continue their financial support,” said Mike Ingram, a longtime board member and co-chair of the croquet committee.

“We used these local funds to expand our career training programs, to take care of facility needs such as HVAC replacements, and all this when we are seeing more young men being assigned to AMIkids Beaufort,” Ingram said.

The success at AMIkids Beaufort pays off: Young men who complete AMIkids typically don’t run afoul of the law again, and many leave the program with job skills and training such as Beaufort’s nationally-recognized certificates in welding and food service.

“AMIkids Beaufort is locally-governed, and we make decisions to help the young men who come to us from the juvenile justice system. Most of them come to us because they made bad choices at an early age. Our job is to educate them to make better choices, to show them a brighter future,” Williams said.

AMIkids partners with community service projects throughout Beaufort County. Male teens convicted of crimes can be assigned to AMIkids through the Department of Juvenile Justice. Students work toward their high school equivalency diplomas, also known as the GED, and also learn job skills such as welding, carpentry and food service.

For more information, visit www.amikidsbeaufort.org.