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Artesians are encouraged to “make today’s special moments tomorrow’s memories” by participating in this year’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern New Mexico’s Eddy County Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

BBBSSENM will host its fourth annual bowling event from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Artesia Lanes, and regional match supervisor Stacy Heacox says the organization is actively seeking teams following a few cancellations due to scheduling conflicts.

“I would really, really like to see that bowling alley a little bit fuller,” Heacox said. “The fuller it is, the more fun it is.”

Teams are comprised of five individuals, and each member is asked to raise $100.

“I know that kind of sounds intimidating, like $100 is a lot to pay to go bowling, but I just want people to remember they’re not paying to go bowling; they’re supporting the kids here in this town,” said Heacox. “The bowling’s a bonus, and it’s not that hard to raise $100. Ask 10 of your friends for $10 and you’re done.”

Teams are also welcome to surpass that combined $500 mark, as prizes are awarded to the top fundraising team. Heacox says any squad wishing to vie for that honor will have their work cut out for them.

“The Lions Club takes it every year,” she said. “In fact, they decided they were bored with competing against the community and formed two teams this year to compete against each other.

“I would love to see that kind of competitive spirit from a couple of other teams. Artesia’s competitive by nature, and this is competition for a good cause.”

This year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake has an Aladdin, Arabian-nights theme, centered around a quote from the popular Disney movie: “Today’s special moments are tomorrow’s memories.” Costumes are not required but are encouraged, as they enhance the event for the children and BBBSSENM will also award prizes to the best-dressed.

Prizes include items such as gift certificates to local restaurants, as well as a few whimsical additions.

“We had several stadium-quality Texas Rangers bobbleheads donated to us this year, and they’re pretty fun,” Heacox said.

Heacox also urges individuals unsure of their bowling prowess to join in the fun regardless. She says the tournament is not competitive by nature, meaning skill level is not a concern.

“It doesn’t matter if you throw nothing but gutter-balls or just want to hang out in front of your lane and win prizes,” she said. “I’m not going to force anybody to bowl.”

Artesia’s approximately 25 Big and Little matches will have the opportunity to bowl for free and enjoy a day of mentoring fun. Heacox hopes those not involved in the BBBSSENM program will see how rewarding the experience can be.

The organization is always in need of Bigs, particularly males.

“I’ve got boys on the wait list that have been sitting there, some of them since this time last year when I was making my plea,” Heacox said. “It’s hard to explain to a kid that it’s not personal.

“Typically, if a boy is in my program, he’s already got one man in his life that hasn’t made time for him, and another year gone by is a reminder another man hasn’t stepped up and made that time. I know our guys are busy, but I’m not asking any working person to do anything I’m not already doing myself.”

Volunteering as a Big Brother or Big Sister requires just four hours per month. High school students can sign up at age 16 to mentor during their lunch breaks, and adults ages 18 and up are eligible for the broader program that allows Bigs to take their Littles out and about.

Proceeds from the Bowl for Kids’ Sake event will help the organization hold events for their matches, as well as defray operating costs, which include BBBS’ comprehensive – and expensive – three-layer background checks for Bigs.

“(Mentoring) is really not a hard thing to do, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Heacox. “The fundraiser is also; the people that come always come back every year, so I’d just like for people to give it a shot.”

For more information or to register, visit www.bbbssenm.org or call 575-910-1882.