Beaufort, SC (June 7, 2017) - Supporting Special Olympics in Beaufort County has turned into a longstanding tradition for residents at Dataw Island. For 13 years, a handful of the Island’s residents and local supporters have sponsored Northern Beaufort County Special Olympics Tennis working with the National Unify Project, a project that places able-bodied athletes with Special Olympics athletes and is currently the only program that provides unified tennis for these players.
“My husband Ralph and I helped start a Special Olympics tennis program in Beaufort County more than 13 years ago,” Laura Bricker, Dataw Island resident and volunteer said. “Working with the local schools to make Special Olympics a school sport took years to accomplish and now we are glad to bring the athletes here to Dataw to practice.”
Throughout the school year, special needs athletes and other students are brought to the Dataw Island Tennis Center to work with Warren Florence, Dataw Island’s Tennis Director, also named in the “Best of Beaufort” as Best Tennis Instructor in 2016 and 2017.
“We do all kinds of drills, work on agility and have a lot of fun,” Warren Florence said. “It is so rewarding to watch these athletes grow in skill level and make friends.”
Dataw Island works with Soar Special Recreation -- a nonprofit organization providing activities and recreation for special needs children and adults throughout the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Soar works to give a ‘voice’ to special needs athletes.
"This group of people doesn't have their own voice, and we want them to be treated like everyone else," said Kathy Cramer, Soar Program Director and a retired special education teacher in the local school system for 33 years. "We need to help people understand who these people are so they can be included.”
In support of Soar Special Recreation in 2015, Dataw Island turned the Dataw Splash, an annual USTA Tennis Tournament, into a fundraiser for Special Olympics and has raised $6500 for Soar to date. This year, Dataw Island plans to do it again with the 2017 Dataw Splash Tournament June 16-18 as more than 100 tennis players from throughout the region converse upon Dataw’s 8 courts to battle it out in “Splash!”
The Dataw Splash is a United States Tennis Association (USTA) level three tournament, sanctioned by the Southern South Carolina region of the United States Tennis Association. It will be held at the Dataw Island Tennis Center overlooking the scenic marshes of Jenkins Creek. Anyone who is a USTA member in the U.S. is welcome to play in this tournament.
“We love hosting this tournament,” Florence said. “The competition is a lot of fun for players and spectators, and to know that it supports a great cause makes all the effort worthwhile.”
Florence went on to say that Dataw Island is grateful to all the volunteers, community support and sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible.
2017 Dataw Splash is presented by South State Bank and the Dataw Island Club. Platinum sponsors are Foolish Frog, Grayco, Logan Homes, and Lowcountry Real Estate. Gold Sponsors are BB&T Carswell, Piace Pizza, Southern Tree Services, Spectrum Graphic Arts Center, and US Foods. Silver Sponsors are Carolina Sportscare, FarmCity Flowers, Gilbert Law, Red Cap, Sweetgrass Restaurant and Bar, and Verity Investment Partners. Bronze sponsors are Dataw Island Tennis Association, Wilson, and Gamma.
If you would like to become a sponsor of the Dataw Splash please contact Dataw Island at (843) 838 8416 or sign up online to register to play:
Click here to register online: http://bit.ly/2pUP9eU
USTA number: 700123216
Players must register by Saturday, June 10th, 2017
Dataw Island is a gated golf, tennis and boating community fifteen minutes outside of downtown Beaufort. The island features two recently renovated Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills golf courses, a tennis center, a Community Center with workout /massage facilities, two restaurants and croquet lawns. The community has also been ranked the “Happiest South Carolina Community” in the 2017 Bliss awards, and the number one best retirement destination in South Carolina by www.bestretirementdestinations.com.
Photo: Special needs athletes and their schoolmates from Beaufort Middle School and Whale Branch Middle School gather with volunteers, Dataw Splash sponsors and Dataw staff to present a $2,000 check to Soar Special Recreation in 2016. (Center Kathy Cramer, Soar Project Manager and Warren Florence, Dataw Island Tennis Director) This year, $2500 will be presented at the start of the tournament.