News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

13 students awarded YBGT scholarships

The annual Mike Long Youth Benefit Golf Tournament is a bright spot in the Santiam Canyon. 

For more than 20 years the event, organized by Mill City residents Mike and Jan Long, has provided scholarships and grants to benefit young people in the Canyon communities from Stayton to Idanha.

The 2023 tournament will be held Sept. 16, at Mallard Creek Golf Course, 31966 Bellinger Scale Road, Lebanon, beginning at 8:30 a.m. 

The tournament includes a four-person scramble with a cart, morning snacks and beverages, on-course snacks, sponsored games throughout the event, raffle and auction items, and a catered lunch provided by Double JJ BBQ. 

Since the first tournament was organized in 2001, with the modest goal of raising $500 for one scholarship for a graduating student at Santiam High in Mill City, the Longs raised and awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships and grants.

“This all started when Jan looked at me one day and said, ‘We’ve got to do something for the kids in this town,” is how Mike Long always started the origin story. With a grin he’d continue, “I knew that meant I had to do something and the only thing I knew to do was organize a golf tournament. So, we did.” 

Mark Tunstill, PGA General Manager of the Mallard Creek Golf Course, is enthusiastic about hosting the event. 

“As a golf professional, I have worked with hundreds of tournament organizers, committees, and many wonderful people,” Tunstill said. 

“But I’m telling you, there is something about the way Mike and Jan run their event that is different, and you have to experience it to really understand,” he continued. 

“They have created a family culture that makes everyone feel welcome and important. Operationally, their organization and efforts provide an atmosphere that the players love. Simply put, they are the kind of people you want to know.” 

One major and sad change this year will be the absence of long-time tournament director Mike Long, who passed away unexpectedly in March. In his honor the event was renamed the Mike Long Youth Benefit Golf Tournament. The family and volunteers have vowed to maintain his high standards.

In 2023 alone, 13 students from high schools in Stayton and Mill City were awarded $18,500 in scholarships and seven local youth organizations received funding assistance grants totaling $17,000. 

“The Youth Benefit Golf Tournament plays a significant role in enriching and expanding the opportunities for youth in the Santiam Canyon,” said Todd Miller, Superintendent of the Santiam Canyon School District.  “Scholarship recipients have gone on to post-secondary success, due in part to the support of this community event.” 

The YBGT raises funds not only through fees paid by tournament participants, but also through donations from local businesses and organizations. To register to play in the tournament or for more information about becoming a sponsor or donor, visit Ybgolf.com or call 503-949-1252.

2023 Scholarship Recipients Santiam High School

Ashton Saari 

Kielynn Thurston 

Parker Hannah

Kristin Taylor 

Emma Longfellow

Katelynn Ward 

Sean Brewster

Regis High School

Aidan Klascius 

Stayton High School

Hope Bridge

Liam Rutherford 

Addison Winstead

Tristen Phillips

Laurel Ann Bjornstedt

Community Awards

Lyons Public Library

Santiam International Club

Santiam Canyon Parent Teacher Organization

Santiam Kids and Tourism Effort (SKATE) 

Mill City-Gates Recreation Association

Diamondback 4-H 

Santiam Music Program

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