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Couple finds joy in sponsoring children

As sponsors of Lincolnton Optimist teams, Bobby and Carolyn Beam go the extra mile for their players.
They’ve taken children to Hickory Crawdads baseball games and had them picked up in limousines after their last game.
No matter what, they make sure the players have a good time playing and a party at the end of the season.
“When the kids come over and hug your neck and tell you how much they appreciate you – that’s amazing to me,” Bobby said.
The couple first started sponsoring teams in 1999, years before their two grandchildren were even born.
Bobby made the decision to sponsor them when talking to a friend whose grandchild was an Optimist player.
“I said ‘Why don’t you sponsor that?’ And he said ‘Why don’t you?’” Bobby said.
And so he did. The couple sponsors five to six teams a year. Now their two grandchildren, Rylie, 5, and Jaycie, 8, both play on Optimist teams, which the couple sponsor.
“A lot of people don’t realize an individual can sponsor,” Beam said.
Being an individual sponsor requires $175 for the first team and then drops to $125 for teams after that.
The Optimist Club is currently in need of additional sponsors.
“I’d be ashamed if I was a business in Lincolnton, and I didn’t sponsor the kids,” Bobby said.
Sponsorship money goes towards a variety of needs including equipment, park repair and paying the power bill.
Sponsors also get the perk of picking coaches for the team. The Beams make sure to go with fair-minded folks who let all the children play equally.
“The coaches that we’ve sponsored, they like to win, but they cheer the kids on,” Carolyn said. “If they win – fine. If they lose – fine.”
While it’s always fun to win, the Beams believe the most important part of being on a sports team are the values children can learn.
“It builds morals in kids, and it builds discipline,” Bobby said.
It also keeps them off the couch and allows them to spend time “exercising on a Saturday morning rather than lying in bed watching cartoons.”
After eight years of sponsoring children, the Beams have gained a lot of fans.
“They’ll come running over to talk. ‘Do you remember this? Do you remember the limousine?’” Bobby said.
It’s moments like that that make them realize giving money to the Optimist Park is a sound investment.
“When you’re investing in kids, you’re not losing anything – it’s the future,” Carolyn said. “It’s a small price for the reward you get.”
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For more information on how to sponsor call Rusty Beam at (704) 472-9963.
by Sarah Grano

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