Want to go?
What: 5th annual Guns ’n Hoses charity hockey game
When: Saturday, 5 p.m. (Doors open at 4 p.m.)
Where: Nelson Center (in Lincoln Park), Springfield
Cost: $5 for adults; children 10 and under free
Beneficiary: Camp Care-A-Lot
Radio broadcast: WMAY-AM 970 (and streaming at www.wmay.com) beginning with pre-game at 4:30 p.m.
More information: Visit www.facebook.com and search for 5th Annual Guns and Hoses Hockey of Central Illinois Charity Hockey Game. To read more about Camp-Care-A-Lot, visit www.campcarealot.org.
Brian Gorbett is chomping at the bit to play in Saturday’s fifth annual Guns ’n Hoses charity hockey game Saturday at the Nelson Center rink.
A hip injury will put the 48-year-old Chatham firefighter behind the bench as a coach this year, but Gorbett knows well the competitive nature of the game.
“The on-ice experience starts with the off-ice experience,” explained Gorbett, who also serves as the department’s public education coordinator. “A lot of us have worked together hand-in-hand with accidents, etc.
“Once we hit the ice, though, we’re committed to our brothers. You have 30 type-A personalities, and no one likes to lose.
“It’s not a watered-down version of a hockey game. Everybody plays his hardest and plays to win.”
Gorbett, and others who have been with the game since its inception, had modest expectations at the beginning, hoping to raise between $500 to $1,000.
“We raised $10,500, so we far exceeded expectations,” said Gorbett, who played in the first four games.
At the core is an army of volunteers, which gets rolling in June, said Dara Bose, who shepherds sponsors, puts together the game program and manages the charity’s Facebook page.
“It’s become a name people know,” said Bose, “and people look forward to it.”
Bose and Kim Noyes coordinate about 30 game-day volunteers, including some from Camp Care-A-Lot, this year’s charity recipient. The game raised $13,500 last year for the Springfield-headquartered residential camp for children from low- or no-income families.
“It’s rewarding to be able to give back to (Camp Care-A-Lot),” said Bose, who husband, Bob Bose, a Chatham firefighter/paramedic, has played in past games.
“Especially the two weeks leading up to the game, it gets time-consuming and stressful, but I know I’m doing something good, and I love hockey.”
“The wives and girlfriends (of the players) put in an amazing amount of hours and receive little recognition or compliments,” said Gorbett. “But without them, these events wouldn’t be possible.”
Gorbett grew up in Springfield, but not playing hockey. Despite being bit by the bug of the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” team, Gorbett didn’t start playing until about seven years ago when he met some hockey-playing firemen and policemen in the area.
Gorbett said he still remembers the first year of Guns ’n Hoses, skating off after warm-ups and seeing a couple of dozen fans in the stands and then returning for the game with the Nelson Center packed.
“You get that adrenaline rush,” admitted Gorbett. “Everyone gets that pride.”
And for a cause like Camp Care-A-Lot, Gorbett said it’s all worth it.
“(As a kid growing up), I didn’t think about those kids who didn’t have the financial means to go to these camps,” he said. “Taking kids from low-income families and giving them a summer camp experience, I’m highly impressed with their organization.”
On behalf of Camp Care-A-Lot, we wish to thank the Orthopedic Center of Illinois Foundation for designating us as their 2011 beneficiary of the Chip in for Charity golf outing. Our board, staff and most of all, campers and former camper leaders can’t thank you enough. We are also grateful to the sponsors, named in The State Journal-Register on Sunday, and we appreciate the participants who were generous, friendly and encouraging.
Our core belief — “All children are capable of success, no exceptions” — is carried out in everything we do. It is touching and gratifying that the organizers, sponsors and participants of OCIF golf outing recognize the central Illinois youth and will help us do something special and important for our 6- to 10-year-old campers and for our former camper leaders. (These teens come back to give back what they received when they were young.) OCIF will help us successfully continue facilitating camp, along with the generous contributions of other organizations, businesses and individuals in central Illinois. We love you, OCIF, sponsors and participants and central Illinois community members.
Camp Care-A-Lot is a weeklong educational and residential camp for central Illinois children coming from low- and no-income families. We keep campers and leaders physically and emotionally healthy as they learn respect, responsibility, teamwork, citizenship and leadership. Our volunteer “Grandparent Day” allows our 6- to 10-year-olds to give to people without needing money.
Multicultural Day affords children chances to learn about others. Children also participate in traditional summer camp activities like swimming, hiking and crafts. Volunteer speakers work with youth on the importance of getting an education and setting goals for the future. Camp supports this by offering college, trade school or apprenticeship scholarships for former campers graduating from high school.