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Light house members Jill Chaffee, Chelsey Kearney, Valerie Zughaib, Priscilla Perkins and Mike Fetzer. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
June 20, 2012 - A monumental amount of effort goes on behind the scenes at any major sporting championship and the U.S. Senior Open is no different.

That's why some outside organizations were brought in to help volunteer, including Lighthouse of Oakland County - a Pontiac and Clarkston based charity organization dedicated to helping people become self sufficient. The organization will offer their volunteers to assist in the operations of the 2012 U.S. Senior Open at Indianwood Country Club.

"We look to organizations that have a great reputation and we have the means and the access to volunteers," said Priscilla Perkins, Chief Development Officer at Lighthouse. "We were approached and we agreed to recruit a large number of volunteers for the event. We'll be responsible for the concession schedule, which is provided by Andiamo's. It really is a huge undertaking by the USGA."

Lighthouse will provide enough volunteers to run seven tents, where sandwiches and other items provided by Andiamo's.

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Recruitment is still a problem however, with just 500 volunteers of the 1,500 goal signed up. People signing up through USGA and Indianwood usually overlook lighthouse as an option.

"You probably wouldn't know to (sign up) through USGA as we work mostly with nonprofit organizations and churches. The relationships we form are usually through word of mouth and our friends," said Perkins. "It's a whole different set of rules because it's a whole different set of volunteers. We just want to know when you're available to work.

"We're trying to get 1,500 and we're not sure we'll need that many, but we're tying to get that much for back up. People drop off - they are volunteers after all."

Training begins early July and involves code of conduct rules, dress code, stipulations concerning cell phone usage, how to handle clients at the stand, how to flow inside the catering environment, time to arrive, how to sign in and out of shifts and when opportunities arise to get on the course to watch the golf. Volunteers get a meal for the shift they work but no payment is given or required.

"We just hope people want to come out and see the golfers and use the facilities," said Perkins.

Lighthouse Emergency Board of Directors Member Jim LeBlanc is a long time volunteer of Lighthouse, and said this was not the first time the organization was involved in a golfing event. When the Ryder Cup visited Michigan in 2004, LeBlanc became very involved with Lighthouse, which organized "several thousand for the event."

"In general I've been volunteering for quite a few years and getting involved with the golf events has been fun because you get tot see them play before and after work," said LeBlanc. "It's a go-do event if you like to be outside and on the golf course. It's rewarding too because you get to do something for Lighthouse. For people in Lake Orion I think it will be a great deal because most of them are familiar with Indianwood and this is an opportunity to see people like Fred Couples and more play.

Volunteers are still needed for both organizations. For Indianwood, visit the website at iwgcc.com. For Lighthouse of Oakland County, call 248-972-1485.

It's a great experience, it's fun, it's an opportunity to network" said Perkins. "This is going to be great for golf fans."

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