Boys & Girls Club members enjoy camp program last summer

Representing a night of RV industry-generated philanthropy, the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen in Elkhart County will hold its 14th Annual Bids for Kids Dinner & Auction May 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.

The event has been increasingly flooded with attendees and supporters all across the RV industry, according to the club’s director of development and special events, Michilah Miller, who reported that about 75% of the auction’s 30-plus sponsors and last year’s 550 attendees are RV-industry related. Already, she said, over 400 people have registered to attend this year’s auction.

“This event has more than doubled in size, the auction items and quality of items have gotten better, and what we’ve raised has more than doubled since the RV industry kind of took ahold of it,” Miller stated.

That support, she said, makes a discernible difference in what the club is able to offer the children and families it serves. The club has over 1,000 members with an average of 400 kids coming in every day last year, up from 350 the year before.

“It’s because we’ve been able to have more programming and more staffing,” she explained. “One example is the club’s new fitness program We had a trainer come in and teach the kids about fitness, and then the kids trained the staff on working out and eating healthy. We thought it was a fun way to get kids involved and enjoy it more than just working out.”

She added that, as a result, nearly 100 club kids and staff ran in three different 5K races last year.

Other efforts include an expanded art program, during which over 60 kids participated in an intensive 16-week art study that culminated in several of them winning regional art awards, and the tutoring program that gave students an overall improvement of two full letter grades in both math and reading.

“It’s a huge impact. That’s one of the greatest things we can do for them,” said Miller. “The club is growing and it’s amazing to see the programs we’ve been able to expand because of the donations and how many kids we’re reaching out and being able to help.”

This surge of support actually touches the RV industry directly, Miller explained, because the club serves so many families of  RV industry workers.

“It’s just so neat to see, when we have banner thanking Lippert or Genesis for something they did for us recently,” she said. The kids are like, ‘Hey, that’s where my dad works.’ And parents think it’s so awesome that their company gets behind something that’s beneficial to them and allows them to know their children are at a safe place while they’re working. It’s a great relationship.”

Items up for bid this year among approximately 55 live-auction and 100 silent-auction items include designing a date with a private jet, front-row tickets to a Katy Perry concert, tickets to the Telluride Film Festival, a trip to the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale with tickets to the Phoenix Open, a seven-day stay at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas in Hawaii, Notre Dame football season tickets, box seats to a Dave Matthews concert, private chef dinners and more. “We just have a great donor base,” said Miller.

To reserve seats, donate items or sponsor Bids for Kids, contact Miller at (574) 533-4793 or [email protected] Tickets are $100 each and must be reserved by April 18. Presenting sponsors include Lippert Components Inc., Consolidated Metals Inc., Hickory Springs Mfg., Genesis Products Inc., Lakota, Augusta RV, Wildman Business Group and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The event will be tailgate-themed with a cash bar and dinner provided by Ruth’s Chris Steak House; attendees are invited to wear jerseys for their favorite sports teams.