The last days of December are often spent evaluating the months past, as new goals are considered for the upcoming year. So it is for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Leeds and Grenville. The organization, whose mandate is the empowerment of children and youth through a range of mentoring programs, has been giving serious consideration to the future of its main source of funds, the Kemptville Ribfest.

The Kemptville Satellite Office opened five years ago with a clientele base of seven children. Today, three hundred and sixty boys and girls participate in two after school programs, as well as in school mentoring and the original match program.

While the growth of clientele and available programs have been extremely successful, the same cannot be said for the annual fund raiser, the “Kemptville Ribfest.” The family centred festival earned $35,000 for the organization in 2012; it has declined in revenue each year since and in 2015 raised only $17,000. As this money is the major source of income for Kemptville programming, Executive Director, Jane Fullarton, states that the success of Ribfest in 2016 will determine its fate.

The question of charging an entry fee is not one which is being considered. The event is geared towards family friendly activities and entertainment. To host a celebration that would be out of reach financially for many of the families served by Big Brothers and Big Sisters would be counterintuitive. The United Way contributes 7% of the money needed to keep the office and programs open and running. The balance is raised by the organization.

Crucial to the success of any festival are sponsorships and volunteers. This coming year’s Ribfest will need plenty of both to guarantee success. For more information about a sponsorship package for your business, contact the Kemptville office at 613-258-4440. Consider setting aside June 17 – 19 / 2016 to help out at Ribfest. Hours qualify for high school students’ volunteer quota.

In the short term, there is a waiting list of children waiting for volunteers in both the school mentoring and the match programs. For more information check out the website: www.mentoringmatters

The office is located at the North Grenville Municipal Centre. It is open Monday through Friday 9:30am2pm.

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