Putt People First

                            Athens Area Mediation Service

It all began with a visit from a friend from Oregon and a walk with Captain Sniffy, our dog. If you had seen the South Side Miniature Golf Course before the spring of 2008 you would understand. The course we walked by, once part of Athens Mental Health Center grounds, was in terrible disrepair, to say the least. Four of the 18 holes had disappeared completely. Carpet was worn and torn or gone entirely on the remaining holes.

Since the visitor loved miniature golf, she suggested that someone should fix the course up. Simple enough. So people began asking and people began giving. And all these people put(t) people first and so more people began showing up and pouring cement and laying green and red and blue carpet. Other people started building and decorating until May 3, 2008 a whole lot of people came and played miniature golf and had so much fun they couldn't believe it. It was so much fun that the social anthropology department at some college determined that there are two kinds of people in the world . . . . those who are crazy about miniature golf and those who are going to be. Which one are you?

Funds raised through Putt People First are used to benefit work in southeastern Ohio for people with autism and other developmental disabilities through HAVAR and conflict resolution work through the Athens Area Mediation Service.

Local businesses and organizations are sponsoring holes on the course. Sponsoring means they work with us in the design and construction of a miniature golf hole. Some designs are quite elaborate while others are simple but decorative. Most of them highlight the sponsoring business or organization in the design. Sponsors receive lots of publicity at the site itself and in the promotion of the project through local media.

The course is open 30 hours each week providing more publicity and fun through the late spring, summer and early fall. It has provided employment opportunities for folks with disabilities.

Now, after two very successful seasons, the course is more beautiful and better than ever, with new improvements each year. The Athens Recreation Department is enthused and is being most helpful.

Funds are raised by overall sponsorship of the project, fees for sponsorship of individual holes, and fees paid by players.

Our current sponsors are  Floor and Moore,  Third Sun, Diagnostic Hybrids, The Holzer Clinic, Donkey Coffee and Espresso, Cetide,  Hocking Valley Bank, WATH/WXTQ, Davidson Bush, Diles Hearing Center, O'Betty's Red Hot, the Athens Lions Club, the Ohio University Credit Union, and the A.M. Rotary. Over three dozen other businesses and organizations have also provided support.

We have big plans for 2010, our third season. We hope to add two or more legacy sponsors to support the construction of a water feature and decorative planting area as a point of focus and peaceful beauty for the park, along with the ongoing maintenance ad improvement of the golf holes and the grounds.

Open Tuesdays to Fridays   4 - 8 PM
Saturdays and Sundays     Noon - 8 PM

For more information please contact:
John Schmieding of Athens Area Mediation Service 594-6169, athensmediation@gmail.com

or Debbie Schmieding of HAVAR, 594-3533, mailto:debbies@havar.org

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