Gzowski golf tournament to be held here

  • Jan. 23, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Submitted by Literacy Haida Gwaii–The Peter Gzowski Invitational (PGI) Golf Tournament for Literacy was founded by broadcaster Peter Gzowski to raise funds for literacy. The first one was in 1986 with a commitment from the former broadcaster to someday raise $1 million for literacy programs. Today, with one PGI in every province and territory, generous supporters have raised more than $12 million!So why did Mr. Gzowski connect golf with literacy? In truth, there is no natural connection. Mr. Gzowski had no burning desire to create yet another fundraising golf tournament. Instead, he used golf as a way to attract friends, colleagues, the influential, and the inspirational to support the cause. To link literacy and golf, he added unique PGI features like music, learner awards, and a poet laureate-a celebrated Canadian who writes a poem about the day, and delivers it as the final event of the PGI.Since he died on January 24, 2002, many of Mr. Gzowski’s friends have taken up where he left off. Well known celebrities like Peter Mansbridge, Murray McLauchlan, Shelagh Rogers, Stuart McLean, and Rick Mercer are among those who volunteer to host PGIs across Canada.This summer, Haida Gwaii will join thousands of Canadians to continue Mr. Gzowski’s legacy to help make a difference in the lives of 56 percent of Canadians who struggle with reading, writing and numeracy. The human cost and economic implications affect us all.Our island PGI is spearheaded by Literacy Haida Gwaii, a non-profit society that focuses on promoting community literacy and lifelong learning.”This is our society’s first major fundraiser for island literacy initiatives. All the money we raise stays in Haida Gwaii for literacy programs and activities for islanders,” said Beng Favreau, the Executive Director of Literacy Haida Gwaii. The group’s services and programs are extended to all learners on the islands. PGI Haida Gwaii will be held June 1 and 2 where golfers will have a chance to play at both the Dixon and Willows golf clubs. “In true Gzowski fashion, we will have a community potluck dinner with music, poetry and learner awards after each day’s golf event,” said Ms. Favreau. The written word ends the day because that’s the reason people are there, not just to play golf. They come away with a better understanding of the power of the written word and an appreciation of what it means to a person to gain the gift of literacy.Tentatively, the celebrities for PGI Haida Gwaii include CBC radio host Shelagh Rogers and CBC Q host Jian Ghomeshi. Confirmed celebrities are Bob and Linda of the comedy duo Double Exposure and author and poet Susan Musgrave. As part of celebrating literacy, Shirley Kricheldorf is spearheading a fringe event in the weeks leading to the PGI Haida Gwaii through community art. She hopes to entice local artists to make community art with a “book” or “word” theme. The idea was sparked by an article she saw on the internet last year about a series of book sculptures popping up at museums and libraries that were based on the work of mystery writer Ian Rankin. The sculptures were given in support of the arts. By googling “book sculptures”, she found many more images of fantastic artwork involving the written word. When she first learned about the PGI Golf event coming here, she felt a community art fringe event held in conjunction with it would be exciting. Since then, she has put together a slideshow of inspirational pictures of indoor and outdoor book-themed artwork to give island artist an idea of the possibilities – altered books, large book sculptures, quotes made of moss on outdoor walls, simple words on chain link fences, a hydroelectric box painted to look like a bookcase. These are just some of the many great ideas.”I hope each island community will put together their own organizing committee and have some community artwork showing a week or two prior to the PGI,” said Ms Kricheldorf. She hopes the art that’s created will be displayed in their communities at locations such as the library, credit union, schools, village offices, etc. “I pitched the idea at the arts council agm and received support to pursue the idea and bring it to fruition,” Ms. Kricheldorf said. Vancouver Island Regional Library has also pledged its support.To volunteer for your community’s organizing team or get more information and a copy of the presentation, email shirleyk@island.net or call her at 626-3625. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the PGI Haida Gwaii, contact Beng Favreau at bfavreau@literacyhaidagwaii.ca”This is one fabulous opportunity for businesses and organizations to be our partner in making a difference to keep our literacy programs running so that everyone will have the opportunity to learn and succeed,” said Ms Favreau.