Adult Spelling Bee to raise funds for TreeHouse

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STEPHENVILLE (March 19, 2015) — You may think you’re smarter than a school kid, but the question is, can you spell as well as an intermediate student? Well, now is the chance to show off your spelling prowess.

TreeHouse Afterschool Program board of directors is organizing an adult spelling bee to raise money for the nonprofit organization, which provides free child care, mentoring, snacks, entertainment, activities and tutoring for school age children in kindergarten through fourth grade. The program relies solely on funds from Erath County United Way.

“We’ve decided to try something new this year,”TreeHouse Director Leann Pate said. “The board decided to organize an event that would bring the community together for an evening of fun, fellowship and fundraising.”

The adult spelling bee, set for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 16, will be held in the First United Methodist Church Stephenville Fellowship Hall.

To make the inaugural event a success, the spelling bee committee is calling on community members to sign up to participate. The registration fee for teams – each with a maximum of three individuals, age 18 years or older – is $100 per team.     

Jennifer Muncey, adult spelling bee committee member, said playing along is simple.

“First and foremost, we want everyone to have fun,” she said. “To alleviate some of the pressure of a traditional spelling bee, teams will be provided a dry erase board to spell out each word and team members will work together to determine the correct spelling.

“The announcer will pronounce each word to be spelled twice. Teams will have 15 seconds to work together to write the correct spelling on the dry erase board and hold up the board when time is called. If the board is not displayed, the word is considered misspelled.”

A single misspelled word per round results in that team’s elimination, but teams can purchase a maximum of two passes, which allow members to attempt to spell the word again to avoid elimination. Passes cost $100 each.

“Teams can also purchase additional time, which will be sold at a rate of $20 per five seconds,” she said.

And organizers are encouraging teams to seek financial backing from area businesses or other sponsors in the case they cannot fund the entry fee and passes themselves.

“We hope donors and participants will work together to help us raise money for TreeHouse,” Pate said. “If a local business would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the event to cover the cost of entry, passes and additional time, they can recruit employees or other individuals to represent their business.”

With the Adult Spelling Bee less than a month away, the deadline for registration – 5 p.m. Monday, April 9 – is quickly approaching.

Meanwhile, Pate said event organizers invite the entire community to cheer on participants and enjoy the fun and fellowship beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16. There will be a silent auction held in the contest area.

“We hope they’ll bring the whole family,” she said.

TreeHouse Afterschool Program provides services to about 50 children per school year.  To qualify, parents must be employed.

“The idea is to help families who cannot afford alternate child care,” Pate said. “We don’t want these young kids going home unsupervised until their mom, dad or older sibling is home from work or school. Instead, we want them in a safe, nurturing environment that encourages them to socialize with other students outside of their classrooms and get their homework done with the assistants of Tarleton State University students who are employed to serve as mentors, tutors and caregivers. ”

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