BINGO! Who knew people that love to dive and protect sharks also like to play BINGO? Apparently, my good friend Nikole did when she proposed a BINGO tournament to raise money for our non-profit, the American Shark Conservancy (ASC).
Over the past six years, Nikole has been tasked with managing the social events for Force-E, a prominent south Florida dive shop, and she has been very successful in building an impressive community of divers.
Luckily for us at ASC, she uses her powers for good by making sure many of her events support a cause or organization, not only by raising funds but also raising awareness about issues regarding sharks, turtles, reef health and ocean debris just to name a few.
Full disclosure, I know nothing about BINGO, but Nikole assured me that she studied up and was ready to run the event. We set up the spinning cage, balls, cards, chips, and were ready to go when everyone started to arrive early Saturday evening.
Pup Morse, the Scuba Cowboy, serenaded us while we ate pizza and salads, prepping for the big game of BINGO. Nikole gave me a minute to speak about ASC and thank everyone for supporting our research and outreach work, which includes a new and important pilot study on hammerhead sharks. There were prizes for every winning card. Force-E generously supplied free air fills and discounted regulator service coupons. A good Samaritan dropped off local festival tickets and Mares provided cool hats and keychains.
Being our first attempt at running a BINGO tournament, we improvised, as divers know how to, and there were plenty of laughs as the caller, Billy, entertained us throughout the game. You would think a group that is used to listening to dive briefings and following dive plans would follow the directions! We finally got to the big drawing and when Billy called out the last letter/number, a loud shout came from the front row where Ronnie squealed, waving her winning card in the air. She confessed she never wins anything so we were thrilled to present her with the Grand Prize, a brand new Mares Instinct 15x regulator!
We are beyond grateful for the support of the companies and individuals who made this event such a success! Fundraising and outreach events with local divers serve as an awesome opportunity not only to receive monetary support but also to connect with an important group that has a vested interest in ocean conservation. The dive community is full of incredible stewards of the sea and we take our relationship with them very seriously because we have seen their
power when focused and mobilized! Divers understand that sharks are important to the health of our oceans and if they love to drift with a rainbow of reef
fish or weave through kelp forests, sharks need to be protected. And luckily, they are willing to play a round or two of BINGO to make that happen!