When Robert Godley bought his 33-foot center console fishing boat last year, there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that he would name it Ginger Ninja—after his 7-year-old son, Bennett, who earned the endearing nickname at a young age due to his bright red hair.So, undoubtedly, when Mr. Godley launched a limited-edition T-shirt benefiting Big Brother Big Sisters of Long Island, it, too, was emblazoned with “Ginger Ninja.”
On Tuesday, the Hampton Bays resident explained that through years of participating in offshore fishing competitions, he noticed that a lot of the fishing captains had T-shirts showcasing the names of their vessels.
“It made perfect sense to emulate these captains’ T-shirts and bring the name to the forefront, and by the same token help out children that are infinitely less fortunate then he is,” Mr. Godley said of his son.
The 47-year-old worked closely with the founder of the Hamptons Offshore Invitational Fishing Tournament, Scott Horowitz, who is also a Southampton Town Trustee, as well as with Mark Cox, the Big Brothers Big Sister Long Island’s chief executive officer, to create the fundraiser.
Each of the nearly 700 shirts feature a screen-printed sketch of Mr. Godley’s boat emblazoned with the words “Ginger Ninja.” He added that 50 percent of the proceeds from each shirt, which range in price from $40 to $50, depending on size, will be donated to the local charity.
Mr. Cox said this week that the funds, which will be awarded to the mentoring agency once all of the shirts are sold, are crucial to the organization’s success.
“When we get approached by individuals who say, ‘We want to do something for you,’ it’s kind of a no-brainer,” Mr. Cox said. “I know just in talking to Robert that he’s a firm believer in the power of mentoring. He really has a passion for what we do as an organization.”
Last year, the organization matched roughly 510 Long Island children, from Queens to Montauk, with mentors, known as “bigs,” who serve as a friend and supporter to their “little,” Mr. Cox said.
To support those connections, he pointed to the recent offshore fishing tournament, which raised close to $240,000 in just eight days. In fact, Mr. Godley participated in the event, winning first place in the overnight mahi mahi competition with a fish weighing 22.52 pounds.
“These events are vital to our success,” Mr. Cox said of the tournament.
“This has been a lot of grit and determination to do something for a local charity, which is very relevant in this day and age,” Mr. Godley said. “I’m hopeful that this is something we can do on an annual basis.”