Nearly 300 supporters came together on Saturday for the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren’s third annual Great Futures Gala. Held at the home of Richard and Helen Hodo, the “Rustic Rendezvous” themed event included a full evening of dinner, dancing, auctions and celebrating the club and local youth.

The evening kicked off with guests being transported to the venue via Van Buren’s historic trolley. Upon arrival, they entered tents filled with fall-inspired decor. Each table also gave gala-goers a “glimpse into the club” by displaying frames filled with a photo of a member or staffer and a quote about what he or she loves most about being a part of the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren.

“In one of the frames you will see a picture of one of our staff members who attended the club all while growing up,” said BGCVB Executive Director Cindy Faldon during the gala program. “When we went around asking them to share about what the club means to them, she simply stated, ‘It’s family.’ That is what this is all about and this is why we do what we do. The club was and is family to her and now she is helping make that true for other kids today.”

During the program, master of ceremonies Daren Bobb and Faldon also shared about the club’s after school, summer and sports programming, and the various ways in which the club seeks to positively impact local youth. Guests were then asked to become monthly giving partners with the organization by having a donation drafted from their account on a monthly basis.

The program rounded out with a live auction that included a “Sweetheart” and a “Sparkling” package featuring concert tickets, gift certificates, diamond jewelry and other prizes. Guests were also encouraged to make their final bids in the silent auction which offered dozens of items including home décor, sports and celebrity memorabilia, and art.

Throughout the night, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a “closest to the pin” contest on the estate’s custom putting green. Winner Matt Dodson was presented with half of the winnings for his prize putt, which he generously donated back to the club. The Eric Mathews Band returned this year to provide live music throughout the evening. Branchout Studios was also on-hand for some photo booth fun.

This year’s gala was proudly presented by Yeager’s Hardware. Gold sponsors included Citizens Bank & Trust and Cox Communications. Silver level sponsors were Generations Bank, Impact Construction, Jimmy Bell Real Estate, and Strategic Realty. Table sponsors included Advanced Meat Processing, ArcBest Corp., BA Tent Rentals, Branchout Studios, Dr. Kyle Catron, Chronister, Fields and Flake, Hawkins-Weir Engineers Inc., Heritage Portraits, J.R. Young Real Estate Investment and Construction. Lisa Huckelbury-Fort and friends, Main Street Interiors, Old Fort Furniture, PAC Printers, Pointer Trail Family Clinic, Ransom Marketing and Communications, Scales, McClure and friends, SPMI - My HR Professionals, Bill and Debbie Thomas, United Federal Credit Union and Van Buren Boys and Girls Club Alumni Association.

“We are so grateful to all of our incredible sponsors, in-kind donors, and attendees for making this year’s event such a success,” Faldon said. “All proceeds from the gala support our overall operational expenses and help us to provide vital programming to more than 1,300 members each year. We appreciate the community’s continued support of this event and look forward to holding it for many more years to come.”