I can’t golf. And I can’t ski, either. (There. I’ve finally admitted it.) But that won’t stop me from doing whatever I can to gain access to two impressive charity events that American Airlines hosts annually. In October, I attended my first Celebrity Golf event, which benefits the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. It was there in beautiful Newport Beach, California, that, despite my months (okay, days) of practice, I and everyone around me became painfully aware of how awful I am.

I’ve been fortunate to attend Celebrity Ski twice. This event takes place every March in Vail and benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. There, at least I can ski solo, which reduces the number of people who can watch me embarrass myself.

Both are weekend-long events that include competitions, performers, meals, drinks, auctions, gifts, lodging, and flights — and those are just the tangibles. They also engender a camaraderie and level of fun that far exceed that of any other charity event I’ve experienced.

In addition to American, much of this can be attributed to sponsors such as Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Toshiba, Citibank, MasterCard, and many others who go all out to make the events phenomenal and successful. (Each event raises about $1 million annually.)

Next year will mark Celebrity Ski’s 21st anniversary, and some of the employees and volunteers have worked on this event from the very beginning. But no matter how long they’ve been involved, this hardworking group always pulls off a seamless weekend.

Many of the same people are responsible for putting together Celebrity Golf, which will celebrate its 11th year in 2006. (I’m told that tennis will be included next year, which is great because I’m horrible at that, too.)

At this year’s event, American Airlines Publishing had three teams, and I’m most excited to say that even with me on our team, we did better than the other two! Luckily, it was best-ball format. Needless to say, my ball wasn’t used very often — in fact, it rarely left the tee box. But what I lacked in golf skills I made up for as the source of numerous stories my teammates could tell their friends — starting with the time my golf bag fell off the cart before we reached the first hole.

For more information about being a sponsor, or just attending individually, go to www.aaevents.com. There, you can also read up on more great details that I can’t fit on this page.

You should definitely add at least one of these events to your 2006 (and beyond) calendar. The experience is incredibly rewarding and worthwhile, as well as important in the fights against cystic fibrosis and breast cancer.

Picture of Sheri Burns

SHERRI GULCZYNSKI BURNS
Editor