By Greg McLaughlin
CEO, First Tee
2020 has created difficult situations for all of us, but the strength and resilience of our chapters, participants, coaches and volunteers also brought about many bright spots and accomplishments worth remembering.
Today’s kids and teens are facing pressures that are different from previous generations, and it was important that we look in the mirror to ensure we are approaching our work with as much relevance and awareness of today’s families as possible. After more than a year’s worth of research and development, we have officially rolled out a revitalization of the First Tee brand to better serve kids in the world they live in today.
We also launched the First Tee College Scholarship Program, a rigorous need and merit-based program that awarded nine scholarships including three first-generation scholars. Our inaugural class of students will be attending Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Duke and other top institutions of higher learning.
We are passionate about creating and upholding a culture of acceptance, breaking down barriers so kids and families feel like they belong no matter their background. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) efforts have been central to our work since inception, as we focus on underrepresented young people from underserved communities. We are proud of the DE&I efforts we have made thus far but believe we can and will do more.
At First Tee, we empower kids and teens to build resilience, so they show up stronger as they take on all of life’s challenges. We are mentors, coming together every day with a unified mission to help kids be their best selves.
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that our character-building programs are needed now more than ever. Together with our chapter network and community partners through the School and Community Programs, we overcame incredible obstacles this year. And together, we created new opportunities to help our chapters as we continue to focus on Building Game Changers.