In December of 2011, Dave Gallagher was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Dave fought his cancer for about three years before passing away at the age of 48 in April of 2014. A week before he passed away, two of his friends, Bret Butters and Russ Barringer, came over and asked to host a golf tournament in his name.
Cass Gallagher on deciding what the tournament should be about
“When we started talking about the golf tournament, how we wanted to host it, where we wanted the money to go towards, and what we should do, I didn’t want it to be about David’s death, I wanted it to be able David’s life and what was important to him.”
“He loved golf, he loved his friends, he loved music, and he loved to cook food and invite way too many people over.”Cass Gallagher discussing Dave’s interests
Dave and his wife Cassandra decided that instead of donating the money they raised from the golf tournament to cancer research, they would donate it to Camp Southern Ground, a camp dedicated to changing the lives of children and veterans. Cass wanted to shine a light on Dave and his favorites things rather than focusing on his cancer and death. This event is a celebration for him by gathering all of his closest friends together to play golf, listen to music, and eat food donated by the Backyard Bistro from Raleigh, North Carolina.
The first tournament was held in 2015, and it has been held annually for the past five years at Treyburn Country Club in Durham, NC. After the golf tournament each year, a fun night with great food and an energetic band entertains the crowd. This night opens another opportunity for more fundraising and donations. Other than the entry fee everyone pays to enter the golf tournament, the other donations come from the businesses and family members sponsoring holes, raffles, and an auction style process.
“We asked anybody if they would like to add an additional amount of money and within five minutes of people holding up their hands we had almost another $1,000.”Cass Gallagher on the donations to Camp Southern Ground
This year, the goal was to send one child to Camp Southern Ground. The Gallagher ended up raising between $7,000 and $8,000 which was enough money to send four children to camp.
Learn More About The Gallagher
Camp Southern Ground
Camp Southern Ground was started in Fayetteville, Georgia by Zac Brown, a dear friend of Dave and Cass. Zac Brown aimed to create a summer camp to host children and relatives of those that serve for the country. Other than the summer camp for kids aged 7 to 17, Camp Southern Ground also hosts veterans and active members who serve for a few weeks in the summer to help them rest and relieve themselves.
According to the Camp Southern Ground website, the activities at their camp are based around the following three goals:
- Grow Unique Gifts
- Grow Healthy Bodies
- Grow Good Communities
The camp aims to discover the unique traits embedded in each camper, to feed them healthy, nutritious food from their organic farm, and to teach kids how to interact through a tech-free camp. The camp accommodates children from military families, children from underprivileged areas, and children who have developmental issues.
While in camp, children have the opportunity to try the following activities:
- Arts & Crafts
- Culinary & Garden
- Nature & History
- Sports and Target Sports
Prices for a week at Camp Southern Ground ranges between $1186 and $1948 and lasts during the summer months. While this can be expensive for children facing many issues in their lives, there are plenty of opportunities to get discounts from going with a sibling or having a family member in the military. There are also donations contributed to help pay for some of the campers’ stay. Camp Southern Ground aims to help these children and veterans express their unique traits and influence those around them.
Here is an infographic I created looking at camp statistics in the United States (on the upper half) and Camp Southern Ground (on the bottom half).
- http://campsouthernground.org (learn more about Camp Southern Ground here!)