Like our participants, what makes our chapters so special is that each one is unique in its own way. We celebrate their diverse perspectives because it makes our work even more powerful. Yet one thing that remains consistent at every chapter is their passion for supporting the next generation and the communities they live in.
One way our chapters are doing this is by creating a space that makes every individual feel like they belong. A culture of acceptance is deeply rooted in our values as an organization as we seek to understand walks of life that are different from our own.
Two of our chapters, First Tee — Greater Pasadena and First Tee — Korea, have brought this to life in a meaningful new way. In 2019, the two chapters became official sister chapters in an effort for participants to share cultural experiences and explore opportunities beyond their community.
Recently, participants and coaches from the two chapters were able to meet virtually to discuss a trending topic in communities across the globe: returning to school during a pandemic.
During the video call, participants shared how they’re feeling and handling the return to school.
Gloria from First Tee — Korea shared, “I think I should take responsibility for myself because if I don’t follow the rules, I could put my friends and family at risk.”
Through the meeting, the participants realized that they have quite a bit in common despite growing up thousands of miles apart. They’re all adjusting to the “new normal,” and are leaning on the character strengths they’ve developed through First Tee to help conquer these challenges.
Bob Baderian, Executive Director for First Tee — Greater Pasadena, summed up the experience:
“This very positive partnership between First Tee — Greater Pasadena and First Tee — Korea encourages participants to share their experiences and perspectives and provides opportunities to educate them about the culture and history of their respective countries and communities. These meetings have resulted in increased knowledge and appreciation of cultures and lifestyles between our two chapters.”
Founded in 2006, First Tee — Greater Pasadena has served more than 200,000 kids and teens. First Tee — Korea was founded in conjunction with the 2016 Presidents Cup and is one of six international chapters within the First Tee network.
The sister chapters have a goal to one day provide an in-person experience for their participants to meet.
This pandemic, among other challenges this year, has been more than we could have ever anticipated. It’s stories like these, of coming together to learn, appreciate, and build relationships, that inspire us as we work to empower youth to be game-changers and make this a better world.