DECATUR — Miniature golf isn’t just a summer activity.
For nearly 20 years, hundreds of participants have spent a special Saturday in January being transported to about a half a dozen Decatur watering holes for a round of putt-putt gofl to benefit local youth and families.
The tradition continues from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. But this year brings with it a new name and benefiting agency.
The event is not longer the UCP Miller Lite Barstool Open. Instead it is the Miller Lite Open. And after the local United Cerebral Palsy agency closed its doors in November, the Youth Advocate Program took over responsibility of the event.
“Nothing has changed, with the exception of the name,” said Jenny Dawson with Youth Advocate Program.
According to Dawson, the event is the largest of its kind in the country.
More than 150 volunteers and 2,000 participants raise thousands of dollars each year.
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During this year’s Miller Lite Open, teams of four will travel by bus to play one of the seven courses, each featuring seven unique miniature golf holes at participating Macon County businesses. Golfers will begin their day at either the Knights of Columbus Hall on East North Street or Sliderz Bar and Grill on U.S. 36. From there they will travel to each stop on the course, before returning to Sliderz or the KC Hall at the end of the day.
The event was started and marketed as a fundraiser for the local UCP programs serving clients with cerebral palsy autism, a brain injury or developmental delays. The local agency offered after-school and summer programs, as well as an adult day program called Healthy Living.
Youth Advocate Program is a local organization with an office at 202 E. Eldorado St. “And 100 percent goes to the youth,” Dawson said.
The program serves more than 2,000 individuals, including children, parents and families, according to Dawson. Resources such as counseling, parenting programs, youth shelter and crisis and case management are provided. “There are about 20 different services,” Dawson said.
The program’s mission is to maintain and build relationships.
“We want to keep the family together,” Dawson said.