The Art Skipper Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament raises funds for extra curricular scholarships for Sandy High students.

COURTESY PHOTO - Last year organizers of the Art Skipper Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament handed out masks with the No Pioneer Left Behind logo on them. While some have joked that Bigfoot is the ultimate champion of social distancing, golf may very well be one of the ultimate social distancing pastimes.

The No Pioneer Left Behind committee is banking on the safety and popularity of the sport to raise funds for scholarships to allow students to participate in extra circular activities regardless of means.

At 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17, the committee invites all to come tee off for a cause at the ninth annual Art Skipper Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament at Mt. Hood Oregon Resort, 68010 E. Fairway Ave., Welches. The tournament offers 18 holes of golf for the entry cost of $100. Lunch will be provided by Tollgate Inn Restaurant during the event, and there will be a raffle for people to participate in before hitting the green.

All proceeds from the event go to create scholarships for students who wish to participate in after-school activities.

In the nine years that the No Pioneer Left Behind effort has been active, committee member Jeff McAllester says the fundraiser has helped grant 2,300 students scholarships.

"It's important that people know that we support any activity that carries a participation fee, not only sports," McAllester explains.

Last year the committee opted to host a "thank you" tournament for past supporters in lieu of an actual fundraiser. Still, numerous champions of the No Pioneer Left Behind cause sent in donations to help provide scholarships into the future. COURTESY PHOTO - The Art Skipper Jr. Memorial tourney raises money for students unable to pay participation fees to join after-school groups and clubs.

This year, McAllester is hopeful the event will see its usual generous support, and anticipates that the need is even greater now than before.

"It's really significant that we're coming off of the COVID year," McAllester says. "Families are likely even more impacted now (income-wise) with unemployment (and) facing different situations than they normally do. We'll need to be ready for that."

Though many in Oregon are vaccinated, because of the rise in COVID cases caused by the Delta variant, the committee is taking precautions to keep people safe during the tournament, encouraging distancing by keeping in-person sign in and registration an efficient and speedy process and then not hosting a gathering after.

"We learned a lot from the COVID situation last year and we're going to keep doing (what we can to keep people safe)," McAllester explains. COURTESY PHOTO - Precautions will be taken this year again for the Art Skipper Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament on Sept. 17.

"I'm looking forward to things having a semblance of normalcy," he adds, though at the end of the day McAllester's happy to just be out there to play golf and raise money for students.

Day-of registration will still be available, though advance registration is encouraged. Those without a team on the day of will be assigned one and teams of four people who sign up together pay $400 to register.

The entry form and further information about the event can be found on the No Pioneer Left Behind Facebook page .

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