Since its founding, the Imperial Beach Athletic Club (IBAC) has worked hard to raise funds for kids’ sports teams providing needed money. The non-profit organization couldn’t hold events last year due to the pandemic, apart from its annual golf tournament. This year with the pandemic waning down, IBAC has held the most well attended golf tournament this spring with 144 players and raising close to $10,000.
“It was a full sell out for the first time,” said President Eric Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is happy to announce there is a full schedule planned for the rest of the year with events every month. It all starts this Saturday, June 26, with a Beach, Bay, and Skatepark Clean up from 8 to 10 a.m. The Annual Cornhole Tournament will once again return on Aug. 21 for adults and Aug. 22, free for 64 kids ages 8 to 17; medals, lunch and raffle prizes will be provided. The Horseshoe Tournament will be held on Sept. 18 on the north side of the pier. The Over the Line tournament is scheduled for Oct. 2. The free Skate Contest for kids 17 and under at IB Skatepark with medals, lunch and raffle prizes provided is on Nov. 6. IBAC will finish the year on Dec. 19 with a food and toy drive to benefit 12 families. This past Christmas 12 families and 36 kids received goodies.
Gutierrez feels fortunate the club is able to squeeze in so many events for the rest of the year as the city started opening again.
In 2020 IBAC was not able to do the usual fundraising but stayed busy. “We didn’t have anything to spend money on last year, and we focused on trash pick ups and giving back to the community by bringing lunch to the Fire and Sheriff’s departments, Lifeguards and Port District’s employees,” he said.
The club plans to bring lunches to the same groups again this year. “We’re slowly getting back to normal,” he said.
Currently IBAC has 52 members of which five are women, and five rookies. Although there seems to be more interest in the club, Gutierrez and the board want to top the membership at 200. “We have more connection when we’re smaller…we all know each other,” he said. Gutierrez is helped in his duties by vice president Deric Fernandez and a board. When the club was formed it was decided to maintain the same board for the first five years until it was well established. At the end of this year, elections will be held so the board will change in stages. An election for president will take place in 2022.
“We’ve been successful. Every year we grow a little bit more. It’s better to have a small event and be successful and we have kept that mentality,” said Gutierrez. In keeping with that idea both the Cornhole and the Horseshoe tournament have a maximum of 120 participants and 64 kids. Gutierrez’s goal for next year is to organize a Surf and Boogie Board event with Camp Surf.
The Boys & Girls Club (B&G Club) has been a recipient of IBAC funds. Gutierrez said many members have a connection with the club in some way. “A lot of our families, as kids, we went there at one time or another. Ken (Blinsman who is the President/CEO) is like a shepherd who watches over the kids,” he said.
Another possible fundraiser is a poker tournament that would benefit the B&G Club. “If we can do it, we’ll split the money from the tournament with the B&G Club,” said Gutierrez.
IBAC is a not for profit 501 (c) 4 with the goal of funding sporting events and activities for local children. The club was officially formed Nov. 17, 2017. IBAC became a reality thanks to Gutierrez’s co-worker at San Diego Unified School District, who is a member of the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC.) OMBAC was founded 69 years ago and now has over 400 members. OMBAC was instrumental in the formation of IBAC and supported and mentored the new club.
So far this year IBAC has given out $8,100 to the following groups: Mar Vista Boys Baseball, Mar Vista Girls Softball, Power Surge Girls Softball, Southwest Little League, SME 2010 Girls Soccer team, Santee USA Girls softball, AYSO-712 Girls Soccer team, Imperial Beach Little League, and Imperial Beach Boys & Girls Club. In addition IBAC started an Athlete/Student Scholarship at Mar Vista High for a boy and a girl, and purchased some bikes to give away for a boy and girl (12 and under) for the 4th of July.