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Paddles Auctioned for ‘A Camp to Remember’
Tamarack Grief Resource Center to hold benefit dinner Jan. 31 in Whitefish
Paddles by artists Karl Rangikawhiti Leonard, Susan Guthrie, Mark King, John Rawlings, Dawn Duane and Ginny Ogle, left to right, are seen at Wheeler Jewelry in Kalispell. The paddles will be auctioned off during Tamarack Grief Resource Center's annual A Camp to Remember benefit dinner. Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
The paddles are painted and the date is set for the Tamarack Grief Resource Center’s largest fundraiser of the year, the annual A Camp to Remember benefit dinner and auction at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake on Jan. 31. With the help of nine local artists, Tamarack plans on auctioning unique pieces of art – boat paddles.

For four years, Tamarack has commissioned local artists to work on paddles that are sold to raise money for the nonprofit’s annual summer camp. The camp on Flathead Lake is for kids who have suffered a loss in their lives.

“We think magic happens during those four days at camp,” said event coordinator Jim Parker. “Grieving is a very unique and painful experience and it’s not easy. We can’t change what happened, but we can support them.”

The children’s camp has been held on the shores of Flathead Lake for nearly 15 years and is one of many programs offered by Tamarack, according to board member Barb Myers. Other programs include women and men’s retreats, family camps and in-school counseling.

Myers said the idea to auction off paddles sprung up a few years ago when the board of directors was looking for a unique way to raise funds. She said the paddles are a perfect representation of the camp.

This year, artists participating include Ginny Ogle, Jeffery Funk, John Rawlings, Susan Guthrie, Dave Smith, Matt Springer, Mark King, Dawn Duane and visiting scholar Karl Leonard. One paddle is simply stained, allowing the stunning woodwork to speak for itself, whereas another has been made into a useful coat hanger. The paddles usually bring in upwards of $10,000.

“These are unique, one-of-a-kind paddles that will never be seen again,” Parker said. “(The paddle auction) grows every year because we’ve had so many great local artists support us and the project.”

Myers said in the last four years nearly 40 Montana artists have donated their time and work to the paddle auction. All of the money raised at the auction goes toward running the camp and giving children scholarships.

“Everyone feels good about participating and it helps get the kids to camp,” Myers said.

Tamarack’s annual fundraising dinner and paddle auction is on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. and the live paddle auction begins at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $75 a person or $1,000 for a sponsor table of eight. Tickets can be purchased on www.tamarackgriefresourcecenter.org, at Wheeler Jewelry in downtown Kalispell, or by calling Barb Myers at (406) 240-2196 or Kris Carlson (406) 261-3160.
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