Chagrin Softball hits the jackpot with Family Bingo Night

On Friday, February 8, the Chagrin Falls High School softball team hosted their second annual Family Bingo Night to help raise funds for their team.

The event has become a favorite among many Chagrin families with its fun raffle and auction prizes, local celebrity callers and kid-friendly concessions supplementing the exciting bingo games.

“[In] our first year, it truly went so smoothly. All of our amazing softball players helped out the night of the event and had a great presence. Families loved a reason to get out for some good old-fashioned family fun on a wintry night,” said co-organizer Lori Newbauer, mother of junior Sophee Newbauer, who is on the softball team.

Teamed up with many of the other team parents, Newbauer and co-organizer Kelly Christie, another softball mom, brought this fundraiser back after a lapse in its occurence.

Now that it is back, many Chagrin families, particularly those with younger children, look forward to the event as a fun night for their kids to let loose.

When my three Tigers were little, we used to enjoy this event when the PTO held it as a fundraiser. We looked forward to it every year,” Newbauer remembered.

In fact, she said, this family aspect was one of the primary factors that inspired the resurfacing of the event.

As Newbauer described, “There was a lot of chatter in 2017 among the softball families that our group didn’t really do much fundraising compared to many other sports teams. And this event immediately came to mind. I had helped with the baseball team’s Breakfast with Santa event for four years and saw what a nice community gathering it was. Anytime you can bring families together for fun, and it happens to be an opportunity for fundraising, it’s a win-win.”

The players, who volunteer their time to help out with the event, echoed this emphasis on making bingo night a family-friendly environment.

The best part of the event for me was helping all of the families and being able to promote the softball team,” said junior Ashley Jones, a member of the team for both of her first two high school years.

In order to help make the event as enjoyable for families as possible, the parents who organized it improved on several of the aspects of the night, including collecting generous donations from many popular local stores and experiences in the form of raffle and silent auction prizes. They also amplified the tech and space aspects of the event in its second year.

“We’ve taken our bingo digital this year with the amazing help of Hunter Galloway. Hunter is currently taking Honors Advanced Data Structures. He has developed a program to project our bingo numbers as they are called which will be a huge improvement over [the] retro light board used previously,” detailed Newbauer. Galloway is a junior at CFHS who worked very closely with the bingo organizers to help spruce up the event.

In addition to some high-tech improvements, bingo night also made the transition from the Gurney gym to the Middle School gym this year, as last year they faced issues with overcrowding.

“[Gurney] seemed fitting since the softball field is housed there and many of our young families are based in that building. But with nearly 300 in attendance, we had to move to a larger venue,” stated Newbauer.

Following the event, the organizers were extremely satisfied with their move, with Newbauer definitively stating, “Our move to the middle school gym was the right thing to do.”

Overall, attendees like high school junior Anais Levi greatly appreciated all of the updates for the event’s second year, agreeing that the event was once again a huge hit.

I thought it was a fun event, it was very well organized, and kept a lot of little kids entertained,” she stated, echoing the community’s satisfaction with the event’s return.

In the weeks to come, the softball team has big plans for all the funds they raised at the event this year.

We have utilized funds from last year’s event to purchase custom bat bags for the team, as well as off-season training at an offsite facility. We will be using event proceeds this spring to make special improvements to the dugout at the softball field. We also donate 10% of our net proceeds to CAA softball to help promote and grow the program for our little Tiger softball players. We want to do what we can to grow the program and our players skill sets,” revealed Newbauer, making it clear that there are good things to come for the Lady Tigers this season.