Beach Ball Raises Big Funds for Sports Courts

The 2nd annual Beach Ball, sponsored by Friends of Lake Panorama, was held May 6 at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center. All proceeds will go to the charity's current priority project — new sports courts at Boulder Beach. Dave Furbush, vice president of the Friends of Lake Panorama board, welcomed the crowd to the Beach Ball. Each table of eight was individually decorated with a different theme, including this fishing themed table, with live goldfish entertaining the guests. Terry Laughery of Laughery Auctions volunteered his time to cry the live auction.


The second annual Friends of Lake Panorama Beach Ball, held May 6 at Lake Panorama National Conference Center in Panora, featured themed tables, delicous desserts, and generous support. 

The success of the Friends of Lake Panorama fundraiser means the group has reached its goal of raising at least $50,000 for new sports courts at Boulder Beach. 

The Friends board had set a $20,000 goal for the Beach Ball, and came within $600 of making that happen. Direct donations to-date stand at $32,150, so Beach Ball proceeds pushed fundraising past its initial $50,000 goal. The LPA has committed $50,000, and an anonymous donor has pledged another $25,000 for a dedicated basketball court.

“Thank you so much for coming out and showing your support,” said Dave Furbush, Friends board vice president, who greeted more than 200 guests. “We just really want to thank you.” 

A total of 220 people purchased $40 tickets, with $20 from each ticket going to Friends. People or businesses paid $100 to sponsor each of 27 tables. Many sponsors decorated their own tables with themes, inviting guests to sit at colorful tables, including one decorated by Jill Brown and Emily Donovan that featured live gold fish swimming in a bowl with fishing theme decor. 

“It’s fun to see all the tables,” said Maureen Lubeck, who decorated a couple of the round tables for the event.

Kylee Boettcher was already thinking of a table theme for next year’s event. “I’m thinking a Panorama Panthers table would be cool,” said the Panorama high school teacher. 

Beach Ball fundraising took many forms. A dozen items were donated for a live auction and another 43 for a silent auction. The two auctions netted $6,565. Buyers spent $1,830 on raffle tickets, for chances to win one of 16 donated items. Bakers donated 24 delicious desserts, which raised $740. 

Another option for donors was a “Build-A-Court” board where various items needed for the sports courts were posted, along with the price. Donors could choose a card from the board and pay for the items that evening. The items included such things as nets, anchor posts, basketball hoops, benches and fencing. This activity generated more than $2,600 in donations.  

Those who donated via the “Build-A-Court” opportunity didn’t actually buy the item they chose. The money was simply additional financial support for the sports courts, and was a good way to show the various components needed to complete this project.

Terry Laughery of Laughery Auctions volunteered his time to cry the live auction. “They just bought those to throw in the lake,” Laughery, an Iowa Hawkeye fan, joked when Bags Boards featuring the Iowa State Cyclones were sold. 

He invited guests to test out the Live Edge Wooden Bench donated by Kurt and Joyce Johnson. “Come on up and try it out, a bunch of you can fit on this thing,” Laughery said as he encouraged bids on the six-feet long handmade beauty. 

Lonnie Carrick of Menefee Rentals loaned and delivered 10 round tables to supplement the 20 owned by the LPN. This way, all decorators had the same type and size of table.

“It was a great evening, with lots of socializing and good conversation,” said Susan Thompson, Friends executive director. “People were generous with their time, their talents and their donations. It was a fun way to help Friends of Lake Panorama support the new sports courts project at Boulder Beach."


In 2014, Friends proposed renovating the courts at Lake Panorama National, and adding a separate basketball court. While some donors contributed to that project, it didn’t generate enough interest to be viable. The $8,000 from those early donors provided seed money for additional fundraising for the new sports courts project.

The cost estimate for the courts is $150,000. With $125,000 of that now committed, the Friends board of directors took formal action at its May 15 meeting, asking the LPA board to build the two tennis/pickleball courts and one basketball court this summer. LPA board members will discuss the issue at their May 23 meeting.

The main sports court structure will be a concrete slab featuring two regulation-sized tennis courts with both tennis and pickleball lines. A PowerGame two-tiered surface will be placed over the concrete base. 

This modular flooring features a locking system. The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue. 

These courts will be surrounded by a 10’ tall chain link, black vinyl fence. There will be one gate, two nets and support poles. This project is estimated at $125,000. 

The basketball court will be slightly smaller than regulation size. The concrete will be marked for two half courts, with two basketball hoop systems installed. The $25,000 price tag does not include fencing or the PowerGame surface.  

The Friends nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. All contributions are tax deductible.

Since an estimated $25,000 still is needed to complete the project, Friends of Lake Panorama will continue to solicit donations for the sports courts. While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign listing these larger donors will be erected near the courts. 

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. A donation form is available on the Friends website, which can be completed and sent with the check. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the website.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

Questions regarding the Friends of Lake Panorama, or this current priority project of sports courts at Boulder Beach, can be emailed to The website is