By Gwen Rollings

Imagine receiving an invitation to ‘Come Carouse, Pillage and Plunder’ and, oh, also to come dressed as a pirate…all for a good cause. That is what the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center (BSAC) encourages people to do at the TRIDENT Treasure Gala being held from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, 2020. More than 425 guests are expected to attend at The Regent in Riverview.

Beware, mateys, the invitation also includes a light-hearted warning for those who jump ship: “The party will include spirits and grub, auctions full of booty and plenty of fun, to be sure. Join in for some fun; we wouldn’t want you to have to walk the plank. Arrrgh!”

The ‘good cause’ part is that proceeds from the event will support scholarship awards at BSAC, a community-based 501(c)(3) organization and nonprofit finalist in the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The gala will be the signature event of the year for BSAC, which offers after-school care, youth drowning prevention, sports, recreation and special needs education such as the TRIDENT program.

“The TRIDENT program is available for special needs adults over 22 years old who have aged out of school resources. We are unique in helping this special needs community to learn life skills and receive hands-on job training because there are not a lot of programs offering these services,” said Carli Walko, director of marketing.

Scholarships help people like Mary Francis. She entered the TRIDENT program six years ago as an adult with Down syndrome who aged out of school with few prospects for the future.

According to Candy Corsi, director of special needs programming, “Mary Francis lost over 80 pounds since coming to BSAC. She competes in Special Olympics events, teaches a Yoga class for others here, does line dancing and gives 120 percent to everything. My son, William, entered TRIDENT mentally delayed and now is a mentor and athletic leader/global messenger for Special Olympics. He now works in maintenance at BSAC.”

This party includes a pirate grog (open bar), swashbuckling games, Shiver Me Timbers sit down dinner, speaker, silent auction and live auction with treasure troves of booty, such as a six-night Fairmont Resort Getaway in Banff, Calgary and Lake Louise with airfare for two.

For sponsorship opportunities or ticket purchase information, please contact Walko at 689-0908 ext. 108 or visit

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