“Welcome aboard!” said Captain Rodger Parcelles with a smile, as he welcomed more than 50 guests aboard the Marco Island Princess Tuesday evening.
The cruise, organized by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to raise money for area schools, took passengers on a sightseeing extravaganza along the Marco River, between Olde Marco and Isles of Capri to watch the sunset.
Dianne Wetjen, President of the AAUW on Marco Island says the cruise is a way of raising money while having a good time.
“Education is extremely important to us at AAUW. We organize a collection for the schools on Marco because when a community doesn’t support education, it will increase crime. And education also has to do with people feeling good about themselves and learning so they can take care of themselves and live successfully,” Wetjen explained.
“We’re trying to do this especially for women and girls because sometimes they don’t get a ‘fair shake.’ Did you know the Equal Rights Amendment for Women has still not been passed? We’re trying to lobby for that right now to get equal rights for women in this world.”
Wetjen feels that in a day and age of marriage, divorce and women trying to support a family, promoting higher education is necessary. So, the AAUW sent out flyers to members and parents, enticing them to enjoy an evening out for a good cause.
“We do all of our planning a year ahead. Last June we started to get things ready for this season. We have activities each month. We want to give extra money for schools to buy more books for their libraries, computers and that sort of thing. It’s for Manatee Middle School, Tommie Barfield Elementary and Marco Charter Middle School,” said Wetjen.
AAUW also raises money for schools each year by holding a raffle. This was the first year for the cruise, which was a big hit, bringing out more than 50 people and raising more than $1,000.
“It’s worth it, it’s great to be out here,” said Parcelles. “I’ve been in Marco for 27 years. I graduated Lely High School in 1982 and did a lot of boating right after that. It’s fun being out on the water with people having a great time. It’s a great job!”
For more information on holding a cruise as a fundraising event, contact 394-4364.