Roatan Events: Golden Buoy Fundraiser for SOL International Foundation
Each year around the end of May and beginning of June, an annual fundraising event takes over the SCUBA diving shops of Roatan. This unique fundraiser brings the entire community together, along with the many tourists visiting the island during that time.
It is known as the Golden Buoy Dive Shop Olympics and its aim is to raise money for the SOL (School of Life) International Foundation.
The SOL Foundation works to initiate and support community-based programs designed to promote education and to increase the quality of life in developing areas. Through the support of grants and initiatives like the Golden Buoy annual fundraiser, SOL Foundation is able to enhance the standards of education, arts, and athletics in lesser developed areas.
In collaboration with the local nonprofit, government, and business sectors, SOL Foundation helps to build healthy communities and to enable people to improve their lives. Fundraisers like the annual Golden Buoy Dive Shop Olympics allow SOL Foundation to support local kids’ programs and to offer alternative activities for Roatan’s youth.
Throughout the annual Golden Buoy Dive Shop Olympics, dive shops in West End and West Bay are tasked with initiating their own fundraising event. Some popular ones from the years of competitions include a street hockey tournament, a golf tournament, an eBay auction for a Roatan vacation, and a variety of cook-offs. Entry fees and food or drink proceeds all go toward SOL Foundation, with each dive shop accumulating points for the amount of money raised through their hosted event.
These individual dive shop competition events culminate in a final showdown of all participating dive shops on the beach in West Bay, as they compete in the Dive Shop Olympics for the coveted Golden Buoy trophy.
On the day of the Dive Shop Olympics, each of the participating dive shops competes against each other in activities like a 3-legged snorkel race, a team tug-of-war, and eating contests. The winning dive shop and the runner-up of this day of competition add points to their cumulative points earned in the individual events. SOL Foundation tallies up all point totals to determine the winner of that year’s Golden Buoy trophy. And – in case you’re wondering – it is not a buoy made of gold, it’s simply an actual buoy painted gold and hung on a rope. Yet, around Roatan, that amusing little trophy carries a lot of weight in bragging rights for the year to come.
The annual fundraiser typically begins in mid-May, with the final day of Olympic events being held in early June. If you are visiting Roatan at any point during that time, be sure to check the schedule of events so you can participate in the fun. Many of the events include barbeques and drink specials, with all proceeds going toward SOL Foundation as well.
If you cannot be in Roatan in person for these events, you can still participate by donating to your favorite dive shop online at www.solroatan.org. Specify which shop you want your donation to go to, and points will be added to their total. All donations are tax deductible in the U.S.