March 2007

To Bee or Not to Bee - Local Spellers Raise Funds for Charity

Author: Linda Hopkins

For some people, the mere thought of a spelling bee conjures up their worst knee-knocking, sweat-inducing elementary school nightmares. On Friday, January 19, a group of human spellcheckers gathered at the Shipyard Beach Club to prove that, with a few new rules and a slightly different twist on the format, spelling bees really can be fun.

Fourteen teams (each comprised of four adult participants) forked over $175 each to participate in Hilton Head Island’s first annual adult spelling bee to benefit the Child Abuse and Prevention Association (CAPA) of Beaufort County. While working for a serious cause, the contest was anything but serious. Urged to devise creative names for their teams and to don appropriate costumes, contestants not only showed off their spelling skills, but their creative abilities and sense of humor.

Instead of lining up on a stage, teams gathered around tables where they had 30 seconds to collaborate and come up with the correct spelling for the given word. If they missed, they could buy their way back into the game—up to a point. Mulligans (or word passes) were offered at $20 each or 6 for $100. (Just think how many kids would still be standing if mom and dad could have bought them a mulligan?)

Putting the sting on the competition were the Spellin’ Felons, four “convicts” who knew how to line up the letters to spell feng shui. (They must have done some time with Martha Stewart.) Two Disney-sponsored teams won the best costume and most creative contests: the Word Birds, dressed as a variety of feathered friends, and the Bee-tles, dressed as the 1960s English pop group. Other fun entries included the Spell Fairies, the Red Hot Spellers and the Cheat Sheets.

For an admission fee of $10, spectators got more than their money’s worth, enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. “This was a party!” said Katie Grindle, CAPA Volunteer Coordinator.

According to Janet Stupica, co-chairman of the event and newly elected CAPA board member, many area businesses participated, sponsoring teams, judging and/or donating money, food, and other needed services. The event raised nearly $12,000 for the organization.

CAPA of Beaufort County is a local non-profit organization founded in 1978. The community-based agency receives funding through the United Way, Beaufort County government and the State of South Carolina. According to Grindle, over fifty percent of its annual budget, which just went over $1.2 million, is raised directly from donations and special events.

On April 27, 2007, CAPA will stage its annual adult spelling bee in Beaufort, where the event originated. Other upcoming area events include the Texas Hold ’em poker tournament, a golf challenge, an antique show and more. “The events are fun, but necessary,” said Grindle, adding, “The people in this area are incredible.”

Find out how you can help stop the cycle of child abuse. For more information, call (843) 524-4350 or visit online at

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