The smell of sizzling salmon and wood smoke drifts out of the fire pit and across the green at the Olympia Country and Golf Club. Hungry golfers eye the delicious dinner being prepared, as they make their way around the course, enjoying cool breezes blowing in off Puget Sound and taking in the breathtaking views of Mount Rainier.
It is the annual South Puget Sound Community College Clipper Scramble Golf Tournament. The event brings together businesses and patrons throughout the community with a goal of raising tens of thousands of dollars to fund student success at SPSCC. This fundraiser has been a tradition for over two decades and has become an unofficial start to summer for many in the area. Held on the first Friday each June, the sometimes unpredictable weather was perfect this year for golfing.
It’s called a scramble because unlike a traditional play through that starts at the first hole and ends at the last, teams of golfers fill the course, each starting at a different hole. Then, they rotate around, playing each hole, until they get back where they started. They make their way through the 18-hole course, nestled among the fir trees, progressing though the tight fairways at an enjoyable pace. Golfers from around the area take delight in this championship course, and chat leisurely with a variety of hole sponsors during the fun filled event.
The Clipper Scramble receives the support of dozens of community sponsors every year. Titus-Will Automotive Group and the Lucky Eagle Casino are the largest sponsors and have been involved with this event for many years. “The Clipper Scramble is a really fun event because it includes donors that wouldn’t be interested in gala events or black tie affairs,” Shannon Glenn, SPCC Foundation alumni relations and community engagement coordinator, says. “It also puts donors directly in contact with students who benefit from scholarships.”
While the attendees wait to rotate to the next hole, they can enjoy fun things planned for them by the many hole sponsors. Some of the sponsors came up with games to keep the golfers entertained. Some give away gifts and fun swag. The pastry arts department makes delicious treats to give away. And the most meaningful interactions are the connections between the donors and the students who have benefited from scholarships that events like the Clipper Scramble funds. There are dozens of scholarships that are funded through the community support that happens at this event.
“This event raises over $70,000,” she says. “That funds many scholarships for students that would not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue a college education.”
Following the tournament, golfers settled down to the delicious salmon dinner provided by Lucky Eagle Casino. Mikayla Collins, member of the SPSCC women’s volleyball and basketball teams, presented a speech during the awards dinner. “The event was amazing. I have never been to a country club before and Olympia Country and Golf Club did not disappoint,” she says. Collins was impressed by both the venue and the appetizing salmon dinner. “I got to talk to a lot of different, really successful people who told me their own stories and I was in awe.”
Collins is a recipient of both sports and academic scholarships. “Without these scholarships my education would not be possible,” she explains. “These scholarships are not just books and tuition and lab fees, these scholarships are helping me achieve my wildest dreams.” Collins hopes to become a veterinarian. When she graduates next year it will be with three associates degrees: Science Track 1, Biology, and Arts. She plans to use what she has learned at SPSCC to transfer to Washington State University to obtain a bachelors degree. Then she will apply for a veterinary program. “I am truly so grateful for everything the foundation has done for me,” she adds.
The Foundation hosts other events throughout the year that help make the dream of college possible for hardworking students like Collins. To learn more about the scholarships and other students success funding made available from events the like Clipper Scramble, take a look at the SPSCC Foundation’s website.