It's that time of year to think about getting out your clubs. For 24 Central New York golfers, with handicaps of 10 or below, April means practice, as on May 16 they will take to Skaneateles Country Club's 18-hole course with a vengeance. It's the 100 holes of golf tournament, 6:30 a.m. to dusk, 100 straight holes of golf. This is the fourth largest tourney in the area. It's the brainchild of Skaneateles resident Don Lemp, the proprietor of Lemp Jeweler's in downtown Syracuse, and it raises big money for the McMahon-Ryan House.
"I feel strongly about the cause," Lemp said.
McMahon-Ryan House is a safe place for kids who have to be taken out of their homes because physical abuse is taking place. Before the McMahon-Ryan House, children would be picked up by social services and then dropped off at the Public Safety Building. This is a practice that would sometimes make a bad situation even worse.
Lemp said when he first told people about the tremendous need for this type of service, they didn't want to believe that this kind of abuse was going on in Central New York. The Post-Standard recently reported that "the number of reports of abused and neglected children has risen dramatically. In 2009, there were 6,998 such children in Onondaga County. Last year, that number was 9,264. Abuse cases, which involve sexual assault or serious physical injury, dropped slightly, from 385 to 372. The number of neglect cases rose by nearly 2,300."
Lemp said last year 4,000 calls were fielded at McMahon-Ryan while 350 youths came through the House.
"And trust me they see kids from all over including, Skaneateles, Cicero, Fayetteville," Lemp said.
The 100 holes tournament has raised more than $500,000 in its seven years. This directly impacts the operation of the house, which is expanding this year into the former Reid Hall, on East Fayette Street, Syracuse. The three-story, 30,000-square-foot expansion will be staffed by an average of 50 people, including doctors, child abuse advocates, county case workers and mental health therapists. It will also host a presence for the District Attorney's office and the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department.
Lemp said the fundraiser is also very important because of the lack of state aid available for McMahon Ryan's mission.
Lemp said one of the key ingredients is Clear Channels sponsorship; and, Jim Reith's tremendous contribution as a spokesperson for the event has been invaluable.
"These guys are players," Lemp said, "there are no prizes, instead the tournament has become a badge of honor."
For more information on the tourney or how to pledge your financial support to the players, mcmahonryan100holes4kids.org.