A shot in the dark is usually a wild guess. But, for supporters of The Morrison Center, a southern Maine disabilities services provider, it is the apt name of the annual nighttime golf tournament at the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth. Sixty-five Morrison Center supporters gathered Sept. 10 for a putting contest, buffet dinner and glow-in-the-dark tournament followed by late-night sundaes and awards.

“I play in a lot of golf tournaments,” said board member Dan Honan of Portland. “You won’t play in one cooler than this.”

Honan started the event in the early 1990s with Tim Thompson, a longtime Morrison Center board member and Purpoodock Club member. “We’ve had all sorts of weather,” Thompson said, “but the only thing that kept us from this was last year with COVID.”

When asked how a golf tournament works in the dark, Thompson opened up a ball and put a small glow stick inside. “The difference between playing with these balls and regular balls during the day is that you can’t lose these,” he said.

Not losing track of the other players or the terrain, however, adds to the difficulty level – and the fun.

“It’s challenging,” laughed Amy Whitmore, assistant executive director. “We have a lot of flashlights and glow sticks.”

Between sponsors, ticket sales and a live auction, A Shot in the Dark raised $23,000 for Morrison Center programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

“It’s a fundraising staple that supplements all our programs and a nice way to connect with board members and supporters,” said Executive Director Mark Ryder.

The Morrison Center currently has a capital campaign to build a children’s residential building, school and therapy facilities at Opportunity Farm in New Gloucester.

“It’s much needed,” Whitmore said. “There are more than 75 children who have had to go to out-of-state programs because we don’t yet have the capacity here.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected].


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