Big Brothers Big Sisters Polk County


Program Coordinator: Karen Dacey
Phone: 828-859-9230
Fax: 828-859-5364

Outreach Coordinator: Mary Prioleau
Phone:  828-899-9699

Address: 301 N. Trade St., Tryon, NC 28782

Polk News: Events & Important Dates

BBBS News:  Polkin’ Around                                         Sept-Oct

Happy Anniversary!

BC Dale & Wendy McEntire         LB Isaias               8 years

BS Lynne Parsons                             LS Josie                 4 years

BS Marilyn Prudhomme                LS Mari Lee         2 years (CB)+

Recognition and appreciation to Big Sister Monica Jones. Her match of nearly 11 years with LS Vicky reached its bittersweet end, but they plan to remain friends forever. Now enrolled in her 2nd year of college as a Wilson Scholar, LS is wished the best!

Big Brother Craig Williams and his LB Kesley completed their match after 8+ years together. Thanks to Craig and best wishes to Kesley!

Big Sister Lynne Parsons has been matched with LB Russell for nearly 13 years!! We are grateful for her and Ernie’s commitment and generosity over the course of the match that has now reached completion. Good luck to Russell!

Calendar of area events:

Please mark your calendar for Nov 11, Bowl for Kids’ Sake for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Autumn Lanes, Forest City, 12noon-2pm. Limited teams will be open for Bigs & Littles to bowl. Volunteers needed!

Saturday Night Lights at TIEC through October, 5pm, children’s activities, FREE admission.

Teen Night at Tryon Coffeehouse Co-op, Thursdays, 6:30pm, crafts, games and free drinks for teens.

…Sept 19-23, Colfax Free Fair, Ellenboro, rides, games, food, fun.

…Sept 21, 176 band at Landrum Library, 6:30pm, bring chairs and picnic, FREE.

…Sept 23, Wilderness program at Walnut Creek Preserve, 10:30am, FREE.

…Sept 24, Park Campout, Chimney Rock, Participants must pre-register at 828-625-9611. Space is limited.

…Sept 25, Teen Scene Grill & Chill, Saluda Library, 4pm, grades 6-12, food & water balloons, FREE.

…Sept 27, Fairy Gardens, Columbus Library, 4pm, crafts for kids through grade 5. FREE.

…Sept 28, Teen Scene: Hour of Code intro to computer science, Columbus Library, 4pm.

…Sept 28, Giant Jenga, Landrum Library, 3:30-4:30, ages 12-18.

…Sept 28, Buncombe Turnpike, Fall Fest concert at Landrum Library, 6:30pm, bring chairs and picnic, FREE.

…Sept 28, Dean Trakas & Friends concert, TFAC amphitheater, 7pm, admission by donation.

…Sept 29-Oct 1, Art Trek, Upstairs Artspace for info.

…Sept 30, Empty Bowls, 4-7 pm, contact Outreach Ministry for info.

…Sept 30, Gladiator Polo, TIEC, kids activities and entertainment, 6-10pm.

…Oct 2, Bottle Cap Pendants, Landrum Library, 3:30-4:30, ages 12-18.

…Oct 5, Ana Carolina, concert, TFAC amphitheater, 7pm, admission by donation.

…Oct 6, Outdoor Music, Central St, Rutherfordton, bring chairs, kids’ games and activities, FREE.

…Oct 6-8, Little Shop of Horrors at Flat Rock Playhouse. Reminder: Bigs who have free passes must call for reservations!

…Oct 7, Vintage Car Show, Rumbling Bald, Lake Lure, 9am-3pm, FREE.

…Oct 7, Hilltop Fall Festival, Rutherfordton, 10am-5pm, music, arts & crafts, kids’ activities, rides, FREE admission.

…Oct 8, Any & All Dog Show, Harmon Field, 1pm, FREE admission, fee for dog entry.

…Oct 8, FENCE family concert with Letters to Abigail, 4pm, refreshments, FREE.

…Oct 12, Bluegrass concert, TFAC amphitheater, 7pm, admission by donation.

…Oct 13, Halloween movie, Landrum Library, 4pm, all ages, FREE.

…Oct 13, Art Trek silent auction closing, Upstairs Artspace, 5-6pm.

…Oct 13, Making a Bat House, Tryon Arts & Crafts School, 6-8pm, fee may be reimbursed for Polk matches.

…Oct 14, Disc Golf Tournament, Harmon Field.

…Oct 14, Fused Glass, Tryon Arts & Crafts School, 10am-12noon, fee may be reimbursed for Polk matches.

…Oct 15, Celebrate Fall at FENCE Festival, music, storytelling, food, animal encounters, kids’ activities and more. 1-4pm, FREE.

…Oct 16, Cornhole & Cupcakes, Landrum Library, 3:30-4:30, ages 12-18.

…Oct 17, Kids Nature Club at FENCE, 3-5pm, fun activities for kids ages 5-12 with accompanying adult. FREE.

…Oct 17, Lego Club, Landrum Library, 4:30pm.

…Oct 19, Halloween Crafts, Landrum Library, 3:30pm, ages 10-12.

…Oct 21, Paper Making, Tryon Arts & Crafts School, 10am-4pm, fee may be reimbursed for Polk matches.

…Oct 21, Skyline Trail Trek, Chimney Rock Park, Space is limited to 15, and advance registration is required, so call 800-277-9611.

…Oct 22, Lake Lure Autumn Arts & Crafts Festival, 10am-6pm.

…Oct 23, Duct Tape Wallets, Landrum Library, 3:30-4:30, ages 12-18.

…Oct 24, Campfire Fun, Landrum Library, 6-7pm, crafts, games, kids through 6th grade, sign up required.

…Oct 26, The Riedys performance, TFAC amphitheater, 7pm, admission by donation.

…Oct 27-29, Dial M for Murder at Flat Rock Playhouse. Polk matches contact Karen for free passes for opening weekends only!

…Oct 28, Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi, Walnut Creek Preserve, 10:30am, FREE.

…Oct 30, Halloween movie, Landrum Library, 3:30-4:30, ages 12-18.

…Oct 31, Landrum Halloween Stroll & Fall Festival, 5-7pm, FREE.

…Oct 31, Tryon Halloween Stroll, 5-8pm, FREE.

…Oct 31, Ghost Story reading, Tryon Arts & Crafts School, 7-9pm.

…Nov 11, Bowl for Kids’ Sake for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Autumn Lanes, Forest City, 12noon-2pm.

Chimney Rock Park: Animal Encounters daily at 2pm, Big buys a ticket to the park and the Little’s is FREE. Any day of the week.

Forest City Owls info: (828) 245-0000

Check out area discounts such as these below at our BBBS website:

  • WNC Nature Center:Free admission for Littles when their Bigs show BBBS volunteer card.
  • Tropical Gardens Mini-Golf:Little plays for free when Big pays.
  • Chimney Rock Park: Animal Encounters daily at 2pm, Big buys a ticket to the park and the Little’s is FREE. Any day of the week.

The Asheville Tourists are offering free tickets to Bigs and Littles for any home games, except for Thursdays and any games with fireworks!

The Asheville Tourists baseball season runs from April 6 – Sept. 4!  Check the website for games and times.

For free tickets for you and your Little, please call our Asheville office at (828) 253-1470 by 12:00 on game day (or by 12:00 on Friday for a Saturday or Sunday game).  Tickets will be held for you at the “Will Call” window in your name.

Free tickets are for Bigs and Littles ONLY.

Polk Library’s Kids program for students through 5th grade is at 4pm on Thursday afternoons at the Columbus Library. Teen Scene, grades 6-12, meets at the Saluda Library on Mondays and at the Columbus Library on Tuesdays at 4pm. For details, visit

Landrum Library’s summer activities for children includes arts & crafts, games and more . Visit

Please remember to take photos of you and your Little on outings to share with BBBS! Also remember to take advantage of our Enrichment Funds designated to support Polk matches. Feel free to request reimbursement for outing-related expense such as movies and concessions, admission fees, tickets, etc.

Local Events & Opportunities:

  • Bingo! Every Friday night at 7 pm, American Legion Post 250, Tryon. Small fee to play, prizes!! The local American Legion makes donations to area organizations throughout the year from bingo proceeds, including to BBBS. Like their Facebook page at American Legion Post 250 and Auxiliary.
  • KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum, Rutherfordton is offering FREE Fridays! 828-286-2120,
  • Hands On! A Child’s Gallery listed a handsonwnc.or
  • Team ECCO Center for Ocean Awareness,
  • Check out the Buffalo Creek Park Trail at Lake Lure, a 3.5 mile loop with views for hiking or biking.
  • For info on the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site programs online at gov/carl
  •  Chimney Rock fun!– Miniature Golf at Fibber Magees
    – Gem Mining at Chimney Rock Gem Mine & Jewelry
    – Old Time Photos at Coffee on the Rocks
    – Riverwalk in Downtown Chimney Rock
    – Picnic at Riverside Park at the east end of the village
    – Fishing in the River

Helpful Tips for Bigs:

BBBS events:

Big Splash!  Annual pool party and picnic at the Schweizers!

Littles Recognition Dinner

LB Tye with Big Couple Maureen & Bob Lange, LB Anthony and BB Jeff Byrd, LB Zachary with BB Victor Cegielski, LS Madison with BS Mary Wells Prioleau, and Program Coordinator Karen Dacey

The 6th annual Have a HeART for Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Upstairs Artspace January 28-February 11 featured  HeArts donated by many talented and generous artists for this silent auction to benefit BBBS. Our thanks to the Upstairs Artspace board and staff for hosting this event, and sponsors:  Song Hill Reserve, Roger & Joanie Newman;  Dave & Sue Anderson , Digit & Beth Laughridge, Bailey & Elizabeth Nager, David & Patty Slater, Tryon Daily Bulletin, and Entegra Bank. Special thanks to our wonderful volunteers!

Bob Neely 3

Christmas party at Morning Glory Farm: Thanks to BC Ernie Giannini & BS Lynne Parsons for so graciously hosting our annual holiday gathering. Many thanks to Bigs & Littles for attending. Special appreciation to BS Mary Prioleu, BS Sue Anderson and LS Nathalie for catering the event.

BBBS Merry Christmas 2017

All of the Littles who attended the annual Recognition Dinner for Littles were honored for their accomplishments. Big Sister Mary Prioleau brought her LS Maddie and sibling LB Tye.

Mary,-Maddie,Tye-RecDin16-copyMaddie was recognized for her great compassion for others evidenced by her volunteering at Hospice House, helping senior citizens, and spending time with her brothers and an ill nephew. Maddie also learned to swim, played on a volleyball team, and enjoys practicing soccer.

Tye has the reputation at school for manners and hard work. He was also recognized for his major soccer talent and for learning to swim. Tye is helpful, handy and mechanically-inclined. He is mature for his age and has a very good sense of humor.

Allie, Peggy, Vicky1

Also attending the annual Recognition Dinner were Little Sister Vicky, Little Sister Allie, and their Mom Peggy. The crowd went wild with applause for these two exceptional girls.

Allie was honored for making A’s all year long and, not surprisingly, is ranked first in her class academically at her school. She was also recognized for membership in the National Junior Honor Society. While in seventh grade, Allie was selected to receive the Bell Scholarship, which will provide $2000 a year for college. She has won third place in the school science fair two years in a row. Allie is very creative in arts and crafts. As a talented painter, she was named winner of the regional Lion’s Club art contest for Peace and awarded $100. Allie and her sister Vicky also volunteered on a recent weekend at Relay for Life to help raise funds to fight cancer.

At school Vicky has been involved with student government, yearbook, filmmaking, drama, and competitive swimming. As a member of the National Honor Society, she was a school representative at the LEAD Conference in Washington DC in January. Vicky has completed 200 hours of volunteer service, including with BBBS and helping at the local animal shelter. She has also organized school projects and charity events, such as raising money for cancer, participating in Relay for Life, and hosting a food drive for the local outreach organization. As Vicky approaches graduation, with honors, she was accepted by her top two college choices, Appalachian State and UNC-Chapel Hill. She has accepted a full-tuition scholarship to Appalachian State as one of six Wilson Scholars, and will study International Relations and International Criminal Justice, with a minor in Arabic or Middle Eastern Studies. Vicky recently learned of human trafficking hubs in Western North Carolina that seriously put young girls at risk. She hopes to work in the human trafficking department of the FBI or SBI, or as an intelligence analyst and writer for the CIA.

Polk BBBS celebrates three Littles who reached graduation this school year: Vicky Anderson, Russell Kenneth Ruff, and Kesley Warren. Some Littles are obviously self-motivated and need less encouragement, but all are supported and guided to broaden their life experience and make strides while matched with their mentors. Big Brothers Big Sisters is very proud of the achievements of all of our Littles. Congratulations to all!

The 6th annual Have a HeART for Big Brothers Big Sisters opening reception at the Upstairs Artspace will be January 28, 6-7:30 pm.  HeArts donated by many talented and generous artists for this silent auction will benefit BBBS. Many thanks to the Upstairs Artspace board and staff for hosting this event.  Song Hill Reserve;  Dave & Sue Anderson , Digit & Beth Laughridge and David & Patty Slater.


Bevin Corbin&KD AmLeg donation 3-16 $500.00
Karen Dacey, Polk BBBS Program Coordinator accepts a donation from Bevin Corbin from the American Legion

American Legion Post 250 recently made a generous donation to Polk BBBS from their Friday night bingo proceeds! Thanks to  former BB Darrel Moore of the Veterans Services for arranging the gift, to BS Robin Edgar for initiating it, and to Finance Officer Bevin Corbin.

BOWL FOR KIDS’ SAKE! was held on Saturday, October 29. Thanks to all who helped make it a great success, including Becky Kennedy and her team “The BOWLed & the Beautiful” from the Polk County Democrats. Becky, 2nd from left, again amassed pledges of more than $3000! Teammate Frances Parker, left, came in 2nd with pledges. Warner & Ellen Harvey Zipf rounded out the team.


Michael Baughman of Presenting sponsor Parsec Financial enjoyed bowling with his children Jack & Ellie.

Presenting Sponsor: Parsec Financial; Strike Sponsors: Congregational Church of Tryon, and CooperRiis; Pin Sponsors: Terry Ackerman, Diamond B Energies, Fairfield Mountain Chapel, 

Rob Fuller, Lichty Guitars, Morning Glory Farm, A.Bailey Nager – Attorney at Law, and Jennifer & Roger Smith.

Team Sponsors: Jim Peterman, Stearns Education Center/Polk Schools, John & Cindy Boyle, Musselwhite Electric; Lane Sponsors: Blockhouse Sporthorses/Kocher Family, Dusenbury Insurance Agency, Bobby Gato- Farm Bureau Insurance, The Hare and Hound, Andy & Linda Haynes, Robert Heinrich/WWE, Henson Building Materials, HomeTrust Bank, Alan & Debbie Kearns, Steve & Marie King, Kiwanis Club of Tryon, Sandy McCormack MD, McFarland Funeral Chapel, Main Street Financial Group, Nature’s Storehouse,  North State Gas, PANGAEA Internet, The Purple Onion, St Luke’s Hospital, Blake Smythe, St Luke’s Hospital, Cindy Viehman – Foothills Realty, Walker Wallace & Emerson Realty.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Polk County is funded in part by a generous grant from the Unrestricted Funds of the Polk County Community Foundation.


Area Opportunities:

Felburn Foundation Nature Library, 3161 Hwy 176 next to Caro-Mi, open M-W-F, 12-6, (828) 859-6745, call for info on expanded hours.

The Hendersonville Museum under the old courthouse downtown is free and open on Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

Area hiking opportunities :

Visit for info on exploring area trails with children, including Kid’s Main Street Safari in Rutherfordton. Games, tree climbing, gold hunting and a search through a Civil War cemetery are highlights. Also featured in our region are The Gold Mile and the Historic Downtown Walking Tour in Rutherfordton, Chimney Rock State Park, the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, and more.

  • The Norman Wilder Forest for a moderate 2-3 mile hike, Hwy 176 & Tau Rock Vineyard Rd, Tryon.
  • The trailhead to the Blue Wall Preserve is on Dug Hill Road off Lakeshore Drive on Lake Lanier.
  • FENCE has miles of hiking trails.

For updates on regional discounts, visit our organization’s webpage at – Match Central.


Show your Big Brothers Big Sisters ID for the following match discounts on your next outing:

Flat Rock Playhouse – Free tickets for select plays, contact BBBS.

Pearson’s Falls is offering Polk Bigs/Littles free admission  once per year. Present your BBBS ID card at the gatehouse. Pearson’s Falls is open, 10-5 M-Sat, noon-5 Sun. For info visit

Asheville Tourists: Free tickets for Bigs & Littles for Sunday-Wednesday games, excluding fireworks games. To reserve tickets call 253-1470 between 9 a.m. and noon on the day of the game, or between 9 a.m. and noon Friday for a Sunday game. Pick up your tickets at the will call window at the ball field under the Big’s name.

Nantahala Outdoor Center: Whitewater rafting! Big rafts at regular price and Little goes for free. Valid on any Nantahala River rafting adventure including guided, rentals and duckies. Littles must be 7 years old or 60 lbs. Some restrictions may apply. Not valid with any other offer. Reservations required. Call 800-232-7238 and mention code 4BBBS.  Participant must show BBBS ID card at check-in.

Chimney Rock Park: Big buys a ticket to the park and the Little’s is free. Any day of the week.

Flat Rock Playhouse: Limited number of FREE tickets to plays available at the Buncombe, Polk, and Henderson county offices. Call the Flat Rock Playhouse at 828-693-0731 for schedule.

Fuddruckers: Kids under age 12 can eat free from the kid’s menu, with the purchase of an adult entree after 4:00 p.m., Mon.-Wed. You do not need to show your BBBS card.

Fun Depot: 2 hours for $15/person, $20/person for 2 hours w/ pizza & pasta buffet included.

The Hop Ice Cream Cafe: Big pays for item, Little’s item of equal or lesser value is FREE. Bigs will need to show BBBS participant card. 640 Merrimon Ave. (Merrimon Square, Suite 103).

Tarwheels Skateway: Roller Skating, Highway 70 in Swannanoa.  Bigs pay for the skating session but Littles skate free. Bigs – show your BBBS participant card to receive the discount.

Tropical Gardens Mini-Golf: Little plays for free when Big pays.

Ultimate Ice Cream: Big buys a cup/cone of ice cream and the Little’s is free.

Urban Burrito: Littles eat FREE on Tuesday nights!  On Tuesdays after 5:00, Little eats free if the Big Brother/Sister buys a meal. Bigs, just show your BBBS participant card to the cashier when you pay. Offer good at both locations: Merrimon Avenue and Hendersonville Road.

WNC Nature Center: Free admission for Littles when their Bigs show participant cards.

YMCA: Enjoy unlimited visits to the YMCA! Present your YMCA photo ID (or pick up membership applications at our Asheville office).

Asheville Symphony: Matches can attend concerts FREE by contacting (at least a week in advance, please); read about next season’s performances

Check out these regional websites:

Polk County Public Library Online Resources: Freegal: Download free music! Reading Rockets: Reading comprehension and language arts teaching strategies for kids. 
Homework help and other online learning tools from NC LIVE (call the library for password to access resources, 894-8721 Columbus, 749-2117 Saluda),

For homework help via Polk County Library visit:

For more area activities:

More About BBBS Polk County:

Big Couple & Little Brother go fishing!
Big Couple Dale & Wendy McEntire & Little Brother Isaias went fishing!

BBBS Christmas 2015 group copy                                   Polk BBBS Christmas, December 2015

Bigs & Littles celebrated summer fun with a pool party and picnic at Matthew's backyard paradise!Bigs & Littles celebrated summer fun with a pool party and picnic at Matthew’s backyard paradise!

BS Monica, BS Helen, LS Allie, LS Vicky

BS Monica, BS Helen,  LS Allie, LS Vicky

BB Mike, LB Zane, BS Paula

BB Mike, LB Zane, BS Paula

Traditional Program: Volunteers are matched with Littles and develop friendships through outings in the community.

M&M: Volunteers spend one hour a week one-on-one with a student who needs a little extra attention at school. Schools served: O P Earle, Polk Central, Saluda and Tryon Elementary schools.