The Wesley Student Center will host its second annual NEO Wesley Golf Tournament Monday, Oct. 15 benefiting its work with college students in providing safe and nurturing social and spiritual support.

MIAMI – Across from the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College campus is the Wesley Student Center, a United Methodist Ministry serving students for more than 50 years.

Twice a week, NEO students gather together to socialize, spend quiet time and come together for a lunch meal where they eat, pray and have a special devotion and discussion.

The center also offers a host of activities and worship services throughout the week and on Sundays with gatherings such as "Paint & Praise," putting a creative spin on faith-based activities.

Game nights, cookouts, a modest library and arts and crafts are also available to students.

To support those offerings, the Wesley Student Center will host its second annual NEO Wesley Golf Tournament benefit, Monday, Oct. 15 with the following Monday, Oct. 22 set as the alternate date in case of rain.

"Remember back to your college days… did you have a Christian, positive place to hang out… or do you wish you had?" asks Wesley Student Center Director Donni Long in the tournament announcement released to media and potential supporters. "A place to gather, share a meal, call upon God to bless the meal and our time together. Hear(ing) the Word of God, while doing college life is just the tip of the iceberg which we hope will become an ever growing, under the surface stability for students, faculty, and staff here at NEO campus."

The benefit event had its inaugural run last year and honors Dr. Ron Gilbert the last surviving board member of the Wesley Foundation and proved to be the largest fundraiser for the center so far.

"We are so very appreciative of the support shown to us for the continuation of the ministry to the NEO campus,” said Long. “The support of our sponsors and the dedication of our board and students is what made this event such a success. On behalf of the ministry, we express our sincere appreciation to everyone who participated and anticipate this year’s being even more successful.”

The tournament will again be hosted at the Peoria Ridge Golf Course located at 10301 S 600 Rd in Miami, with practice and registration opening at 8 a.m. followed by a shotgun start of the tournament at 9 a.m.

Area churches, businesses, and organizations are being asked to participate along with community members for a day of sport to support the center and its work.

“Our United Methodist campus ministries have an active and vital role in the developing lives of young adults in colleges across Oklahoma," the Oklahoma United Methodist Board of Higher Education said in an issued statement. "During the season of most growth and change, Wesley foundations are a space for students to explore their faiths and identities as Christ-followers.”

Tournament registration costs per four-person team are $300, and individual registrations are also welcome for $75. Costs include green fees, carts, lunch and a chance at prizes. Individuals will be placed with teams.

Long said corporate sponsorships are also available at four levels –

Platinum: $1,000 (includes team fee), Gold: $500, Silver: $250 and Bronze: $100.

All sponsors will receive a professional sign by Allen Sign on a tee box or by the clubhouse, acknowledgment in the tournament bulletin, at the awards ceremony, and in the Wesley newsletter.

Participants will also have the chance to win a brand new car in a special "Hole in One" contest provided by Gold Plus sponsor Miami Auto Supercenter.

For more information on corporate sponsorships and to register persons interested my contact Long at 918-919-2080. Registration forms are also available at the Wesley Student Center, 117 I St. NE, Miami.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Email her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.