I joined First Tee when I was 4 years old.
My dad decided to sign my twin brother and me up because he had seen so much overlap between golf and life skills, though he may have also wanted two more people for his foursome.
First Tee has by far had the largest ripple effects on my life – not just when I was in the program during elementary, middle, and high school – but also in college.
The life skills and leadership taught in First Tee is unmatched compared to any other youth program in terms of not just development but also breadth. I am 100% serious when I say I took a patient education class this semester and the concept of SMART goals was taught to my class.
Throughout my time in college, my involvement in First Tee continues to show how far ahead I am compared to my classmates in terms of leadership and life skills.
As a First Tee alumni heading to college, I was able to attend the pre-college retreat which gave me a huge sense of relief that I could adjust quickly to the new environment and excel in my academics.
Additionally during each winter, First Tee has hosted winter workshops, which have helped further my knowledge as an undergraduate with topics related to practical things I experience in college.
Finally, my favorite part about being an alumnus is being able to give back to First Tee as a chaperone at national participant opportunity events.
This past summer I was so privileged to spend a week in Montana at the Leadership Summit. As an alumnus who is still very involved with my chapter, First Tee selected me to serve as a chaperone for this event to mentor the youth who attended.
I had such a great time getting to meet participants from all over the nation in the beautiful state of Montana.
These are all reasons why I encourage any First Tee alumni I meet to stay involved with the program and serve their home chapters. Be willing to give back to an organization that has given you so much!
Currently, I’m a senior at East Carolina University studying public health on the pre-medical track with a minor in leadership studies. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a full academic scholarship to my university and I owe First Tee much of the credit for helping me achieve the award. Upon graduation in May, I’m planning to take a gap year before attending medical school in hopes of becoming a reconstructive plastic surgeon.
During my gap year, I hope to go on medical mission trips, perform clinical research, and serve my home community as an EMT.
First Tee is an amazing organization and if a young person had never heard about First Tee, I would emphasize the diversity and accessibility of the organization.
Whether you’re in third grade or high school, First Tee has something for you and the program continues to grow and evolve each year. First Tee gives you a chance to learn a new sport and form new friendships all the while learning practical life knowledge, core values and leadership skills that you will carry for the rest of your life.
To parents, I can whole heartedly say I would not be the person I am today or in the place I’m currently at without the First Tee.
If there had to be one organization I could point to that changed my life, motivated me to pursue opportunities that led to me be awarded a full ride academic scholarship to college, and allowed me to have life changing experiences, it would be First Tee.