Total up a few high-scoring words, and you can win cash in an upcoming SCRABBLE tournament--and help a good cause, besides.
Literacy Volunteers is hosting its seventh annual SCRABBLE tournament March 21 at Radez School in Richmondville, and teams have already signed up to play.
Although there's money for prizes, the emphasis is on fun and fundraising.
"This is not a high-pressure tournament that pits experts against experts," said Sandy Poole, who's been on a tournament team every year.
"It's not like traditional SCRABBLE. Everybody has a chance to win, and everybody has fun."
Two-to-four person teams compete in three SCRABBLE games, all with different rules and varying time lengths. The team with the highest combined score wins $200.
The next three teams will each win $100, and one of the remaining teams will be drawn at random to win $100, also.
Usually about 20 teams compete.
Players can improve their scores by buying extra letters, or they can pay to check a dictionary for correct spellings or to find high-scoring words.
Besides cash, players can win prizes during trivia contests in between SCRABBLE games. Popular emcee Brian Dineen will return to pitch trivia questions, explain the games and keep everyone laughing.
Besides being fun, the tournament is a major fundraiser for Literacy New York--Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie Counties, which teaches adults how to read.
Last year's tournament raised $11,000, a sizable part of the organization's annual budget.
"Our tournament has become a tradition of fun and friendly competition," said Lisa Cardilli, Literacy Volunteers' executive director. "And it's appropriate that we play a word game that fits with our mission.
"But this fundraiser is essential to us. It's our biggest of the year."
Justine's will provide a free continental breakfast.
Players must be 16 years old. Past tournaments have featured teams with mixed teens and adults, and teams of co-workers and friends have challenged one another.
The cost is $15 per person. Most of the money raised by the tournament comes from generous business sponsors.
To register as a team for the March 21 tournament, contact Ms. Cardilli at 234-2576 or email@example.com.
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Literacy Volunteers has trained volunteer tutors who teach adults one-on-one in basic literacy skills, at no charge.
Many students are trying to become employed, get a better job or earn their high school equivalency diplomas.
Although the service is free to students, Literacy Volunteers has expenses. Costs include an office in each of the three counties, a small staff and materials for tutors and students.