HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Giving back to the community and supporting children are the forces behind the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe. And on May 14 under a sunny Saturday morning sky, the club held their second annual Kids & Family Mini Golf Tournament at the Pink Flamingo Diner in High Springs. The event is organized to help raise funds for projects the Kiwanis support for the children of High Springs and Alachua.

After the Pink Flamingo Diner opened last year with a nine-hole miniature golf course, the club saw it as an entertaining way to raise funds and involve the community. Last year’s event featured teams divided into two categories of adults and children, but this year the groups were combined with no age limits. Eight teams played for high scores, prizes and bragging rights. The teams signed up in groups for an $8 entry fee for each adult and $6 for kids under 13. The Pink Flamingo kicked in half the entry fee to the club, raising $2,750 for Kiwanis projects.

The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe is one local club out of the Kiwanis International, which was founded in 1915 by a group of businessmen in Detroit, Michigan. The name "Kiwanis" was coined from an American Indian expression, “Nunc Kee-wanis,” which means, “We trade.” In 1920, the motto of Kiwanis became “We Build.” It remained the motto until 2005, when members voted to change it to “Serving the children of the world.” In the early years, members focused on business networking, but in 1919 the organization changed its focus to service — specifically service to children. The organization now has more than 550,000 members in 80 countries. Worldwide the Kiwanis host nearly 150,000 service projects each year.

At Saturday's competition, the teams consisted of local residents, along with two teams from the fire and police departments in a friendly rivalry between city employees. The fire department won the competition and was awarded a trophy that is returned each year for the city employee team competitions. Local residents filled out the remaining teams, which they named.

The community effort had a number of local sponsors that provided services or funding. This year’s event sponsors included Pink Flamingo, Porta Serve, Campus USA, Waste Pro, Hampton Inn, Great Outdoors Restaurant, Winn Dixie, Capitol City Bank, and Thomas Weller, attorney. Prizes for first, second and third place were provided by Publix, Pink Flamingo Diner, Hitchcocks and Hardee’s.

The Gator Boys team took first place and a $100 gift card from Publix, a $50 Hitchcock gift card and Payday candy bars. Second place was won by the Dough Boys who received a $75 Pink Flamingo Diner gift card and a $25 Hardee’s gift card. The fire department took third place and received a $50 gift card from the Pink Flamingo Diner. A tie between the first and second place team forced a third-round playoff with the Gator Boys coming out on top with the last putt.

“This event has been a great success in helping raise funding for our projects” said Kiwanis President Tom Hewlett. “It's a fun event where the community can have a friendly competition and enjoy playing at this unique miniature golf field. We are grateful to all the volunteers, teams and sponsors, especially to the Pink Flamingo for providing the course to make this possible and we look forward to continuing the tradition yearly.”

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