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Elk Grove Citizen

Pickleball Tourney Funds Youth Camp

Mar 28, 2024 09:45AM ● By Matthew Malone

Kerrie Hill, founder of Logan’s Little Warriors, stands with winners of the women’s doubles matches on March 16 at the nonprofit organization’s pickleball tournament. Photo by Matthew Malone

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - An Elk Grove mother’s goal to protect youth from drug addiction took another step toward reality on March 16 and 17 with a pickleball tournament and fundraiser.
The tournament at Cosumnes River College raised money for Logan’s Little Warriors, the nonprofit organization founded by Kerrie Hill in memory of her son’s death from a drug overdose. Hill aims to open a camp that would help children discover their talents and avoid addiction.
With plenty of signups, the tournament kept the college’s pickleball courts busy over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, with men’s, women’s and mixed divisions, as well as singles and doubles.
Mackenzie Buchanan, the nonprofit organization’s operations manager, said the tournament had nearly sold out its competition spots. With the organization’s rapid progress toward its goal of opening a camp, “there’s no doubt that this is going to happen,” Buchanan told the Citizen.
Logan’s Little Warriors wants to help guide youth toward healthy life choices, according to Buchanan.
“A lot of the people in Kerrie’s community who’ve been attracted to the cause have always told us, ‘It was that one person when I was younger that made that difference and I didn’t go down this path or even when I did, I had someone to help me out.’ So that’s what we’re trying to do,” Buchanan said.
Hill’s son, Logan Hugentobler, died on Feb. 7, 2022 from an accidental fentanyl overdose. He had been sober for 10 years, Hill said. Hugentobler planned a trip to visit his father, brother and girlfriend, Hill said, and he called his girlfriend after work, saying he was going to get dinner and call her back.
“And he never called her back,” Hill said. 
Hugentobler was 40 years old. 
Hill raised the question of how he could go from “the happiest he’d ever been to making that decision to use again.”
She had already planned to start a youth camp, Kerrie Pines Youth Camp, for a long time. But the camp name changed when Hill learned of her son’s death.
“Two years ago, on Feb. 7, when I got that phone call and Logan was gone, I thought about Mothers Against Drunk Driving,” Hill said. “I thought, ‘I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to bury a child…’ And after a complete, utter meltdown for probably 30 (or) 40 minutes, I’m like, ‘His name has to go on. I have to give meaning to this.’”
Logan’s Little Warriors wants to find a location for the camp, either an existing campsite or land to build on.
Hill said she wanted to serve youth facing difficult times, such as teen mothers, and youth who are aging out of foster care or struggling with their gender identity.
“Our mission is to make a difference in the world one kid at a time, and we’re going to do that by teaching them how to manage emotions, like ‘What do you do when life hurts? How do you manage that? ‘Hill said. “Give them a place just to turn so they’re not turning to drugs and alcohol.”
The camp will also have a focus on “goal setting,” Buchanan said, explaining that many camps focus on a specific subject. The Logan’s Little Warriors camp will offer a variety of activities to help children find their skills.
“What if you never had the resources and you just don’t know what you’re good at yet. You’ve just got to try it,” Buchanan said.
In addition, the camp vision includes an animal sanctuary, due to Hill’s love of caring for animals.
Asked what she wants others to know about her son, Hill said, “He loved everybody. And he was one of those people; everybody loved Logan.”
Hill remembered giving him money to buy a snack from a convenience store, only to find he had given it to a man who needed something to eat.
At Hugentobler’s celebration of life, Hill said, those whom he had sponsored in their own efforts to stay sober shared their gratitude.
“There were hundreds of people in the room and so many of them stood up that I didn’t even know and they said, ‘I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Logan. He changed my life,’” Hill said.
For more information about Logan’s Little Warriors, visit its Facebook page at (case sensitive).