Game, set, match. The optic yellow tennis ball whizzes back and forth across the net, punctuated by the thwacks it makes when it meets the strings of the tennis racquets and the distinctive pops it makes when it bounces off the indoor hard surface court. The opponents lean back and forth, dancing across the court, mirroring each other’s moves in an athletic dance. Though they face off, eyes sharp watching each other and the ball as they volley it over the net, they share a mutual goal. This isn’t just any tennis match, it is a special fundraising event. The BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition & Pro-Am.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition Pro-Am Spirit of Friendly Competition
Patty Leyton loved tennis and helping others. In the spirit of friendly competition, these competitors came together for the first BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition & Pro-Am. Photo courtesy: Big Brothers Big Sisters Southwest Washington

On February 1 and 2, The Valley Athletic Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington (BBBSSW) will partner up for the BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition & Pro-Am. The two-day fundraiser supports the Patty Layton Enrichment Fund, and is open to not only gold members of the Valley Athletic Club but the public as well. Whether you are a fan of tennis or a supporter of great causes, mark your calendar for this fantastic event.

The fun gets started on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. when guests will enjoy delicious appetizers and drinks, explains Leslie Shahan, VP of operations for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. Guests will also place their bids in the silent auction and bid on their favored pro and then view local tennis professionals square off in a match. The following morning, guests are invited to return to watch the Pro-Am portion where professionals and amateur sponsors will go head to head for a round of tennis.

Only in its second year, the BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition & Pro-Am was started to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program overall. This year, all proceeds will benefit the Patty Layton Enrichment Fund. “Patty was a friend to many in the tennis community and a mentor to so many,” says Leslie. When Patty Layton passed on in July of 2018, her family decided to honor her memory by creating the fund that supports the programs of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. It is their hope that this fund will give the gift of mentorship to children that need someone like Patty in their lives. BBBSSW will use the funds to create a broader perspective of things for matches to do together, things that they may not have the opportunity to do otherwise. The fund supports cultural activities, tutoring, major events, outings and will purchase needed supplies for school and sports activities.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition Pro-Am Silent Auction
On Friday February 1, guests will have an opportunity to bid on items in the silent auction. Proceeds will help support programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. Photo courtesy: Big Brothers Big Sisters Southwest Washington

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington makes meaningful mentor matches between adult volunteers (Bigs) and children ages 5- to 18-years-old (Littles). It is the goal of BBBSSW for these relationships to have a positive and lasting effect in the lives of young people throughout the community.

The mentorships and activities are made possible by generous community members like the family of Patty Layton and partnership with businesses and organizations like The Valley Athletic Club. In addition to serving as event host for the BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition & Pro-Am, “The Valley also provides an evening for Bigs and Littles to experience the sport of tennis together,” says Leslie. The Valley’s tennis pros host a clinic for the youth and their mentors to learn the basics of tennis, hit a few balls and just have a great time together.

“We just want to thank The Valley Athletic Club for their continued dedication to the youth in our community” says Leslie, “Without community partners like The Valley, our mission isn’t possible” she adds.

If you enjoy tennis, would like to help honor Patty Layton’s memory, or just want to support a great cause to help kids in our community, join the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington on February 1 and 2 at The Valley Athletic Club. Tickets for the BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition & Pro-Am go on sale January 7. If you have questions about the event, or if you would like to find out more about sponsoring this event or others, call the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington at 360-943-0409.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition Pro-Am Community
Last year, members of the community came together for the first BIG Valley Tennis Exhibition & Pro-Am. This year, you can join others for the second in this special fundraising event. Photo courtesy: Big Brothers Big Sisters Southwest Washington

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