First Tee Game Changers Academy to Explore Issues of Race and Equality with Teen Participants

First Tee has partnered with RISE to facilitate the national event held July 20-24 in Philadelphia

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (January 18, 2021) − First Tee, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, will host the First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, July 20-24, 2021. First Tee teens attending this five-day learning and empowerment academy will participate in critical conversations around issues of identity, racism, equity and empathy.

The event will feature engaging and interactive workshops facilitated by RISE, a national nonprofit and leader in the sports community championing social justice and working to improve race relations. The workshops will be paired with introspective activities and reflections led by our nationally trained First Tee coaches and keynote speakers from the sports industry including Philadelphia native and PGA TOUR Chief Legal Officer, Len Brown. First Tee – Greater Philadelphia will host the teens for golf outings at John F. Byrne Golf Course where they will continue to build upon their connections with other participants from around the country and hear different perspectives from their peers. The Academy builds throughout the week into a final outreach project in Philadelphia.

“The events of 2020 have reinforced the need for dialogue and to provide a platform for our teens to explore critical topics like diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., has always been an advocate for social justice and I’m proud to carry forward his passion through an event that will empower our participants to be game changers in their community.”

This Academy is an evolution of our longest standing participant event, the Life Skills Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. The enhanced event addresses the challenges our teens face in their daily lives and better equips them to build the strength of character to be game changers in their communities. The Academy honors First Tee’s former CEO, Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., who led the organization from 2000 until his retirement in 2017.

“First Tee has and always will be a program that encourages personal growth and life skill development that young people can take with them wherever they go,” said Barrow. “I’m grateful to be associated with an event that will serve as an important platform for critical conversations on the subject of racial equity. I believe it will have a significant impact on the young people who attend, and ultimately their families and communities.”

First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee headquarters designed to inspire and encourage high school students on a deeper level as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. Ninety-six First Tee teens will be selected for this event via an application process that opens Feb. 9.

First Tee is a youth development organization that enables kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. By seamlessly integrating the game of golf with a life skills curriculum, First Tee creates active learning experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence and resilience that kids can carry to everything they do. These character education programs are offered at golf courses, schools and youth centers in all 50 states and six international locations.

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