Kylie Porter Chooses Gratitude Despite Life’s Challenges

Kylie Porter (right) alongside fellow First Tee – Canton participant, Ava Kemp.

If you’ve ever met Kylie Porter from First Tee – Canton you would never know all that she has overcome. Kylie has been a fighter since the day she was born. As a newborn, Kylie was transported to the Akron Children’s Hospital NICU as a 4-pound twin. Her parents had a priest called to the hospital to give Kylie her last rights, as they were told she wouldn’t survive. And if by some miracle she was to survive, she would never walk and would experience cognitive delays.

Kylie beat the odds.

Despite the doctor’s diagnosis, she has become a remarkable, intelligent young lady who is grateful to play her favorite sport…golf. Kylie has been a part of First Tee – Canton for more than seven years, where she is known for her amazing smile, positive attitude and hard work. Her parents truly thought they would never see the day and credit First Tee for not only teaching Kylie how to play the game of golf but providing a space where she could develop her character and values such as honesty, respect and acceptance.

“First Tee is more than just learning how to golf. At First Tee – Canton, I learned how important core values are to use everywhere. Not just in the sport of golf, but also in utilizing the values to help guide me in my everyday life. My favorite value is perseverance. In order to pursue your goals in life, you have to persevere and work hard towards your goals.”

Kylie has certainly made her mark at First Tee – Canton.

In 2019, the chapter honored Kylie with their first ever “Bill Hayes Perseverance Award.” In an effort to honor Mr. Hayes, a former volunteer who continued to serve despite his health issues, the award was created to recognize participants that also persevere in life. They believed that Kylie was a perfect fit to receive the first award.

Kylie recognizes how blessed she is and shares her story to advocate for other kids dealing with challenges in their life. Now 14 years old, Kylie has been diagnosed with Stickler syndrome, which contributes to severe hearing loss. However, she doesn’t let this stop her. Kylie uses her platform as a means to motivate young people and encourage them to find confidence despite their hearing loss. She uses social media to spread this message and share her story. Because of her efforts, Kylie was recently honored as a HearStrong Champion through the HearStrong Foundation.

She wants to inspire kids and teens with hearing loss and one day be an audiologist to help others like herself.

Kylie, you inspire us to learn and grow from our challenges.

In this season of thankfulness, we are grateful for our donors and supporters who help lift up our mission so we can reach young people like Kylie. This holiday season, when you donate to a First Tee chapter, they’re eligible for matching dollars, up to $1 for every $2 you donate, thanks to a matching grant program from Charles R. Schwab.  Find a chapter to donate today and join our mission to empower young people to build their strength of character through golf.

Charles Schwab Extends His Support of First Tee’s Character-Building Programs with New Matching Grant Program for Chapters

Phoenix, Ariz. (November 11, 2021) – As First Tee approaches the 25th anniversary milestone, Charles R. Schwab has committed transformational support through a new Charles Schwab Challenge Grant. Schwab is the Chairman and founder of the eponymous wealth management firm that has carried his name for almost five decades. The $25 million grant will provide up to a $1 match for every $2 donated to First Tee Chapters by individuals, corporations and foundations now through 2026. This Grant program will provide First Tee Chapters the opportunity to significantly grow and deepen their impact over the next several years.

“I believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow,” said Charles R. Schwab. “That’s why I am investing in First Tee. I believe in this organization’s mission and the power of the First Tee Chapters to continue changing the game for young people for years to come.”

“As we approach our 25th anniversary, it’s a great time for us to reflect on the successes of the past as well as look ahead, focusing on what is needed to leave an even greater impression on the next generation,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “This grant program is only possible because of the leadership and commitment of Charles Schwab.  We are grateful for his support and the lasting impact it will have on the young people and the communities we serve.”

Charles Schwab Grant Program benefiting First Tee Chapters kicks off this week in conjunction with the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the final event on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule. Held at Phoenix Country Club, First Tee — Phoenix participants Abi Morris and Jake Walden played alongside Charles Schwab and Phil Mickelson in the Wednesday pro-am.

L to R: Rick Wurster, President, The Charles Schwab Corporation and Head of Schwab Asset Management Solutions, Jake Walden, First Tee – Phoenix participant, World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson, Frank Herringer, Director, Charles Schwab, Charles R. Schwab, Abi Morris, First Tee – Phoenix participant.

Next year, First Tee will celebrate 25 years of providing programs that teach life skills and help kids and teens build their strength of character through golf. Impacting more than 3.7 million youth annually, programs are delivered at First Tee Chapters, schools and youth centers across the country and select international locations.

First Tee Teens Commit to Implementing Community Service Projects and Healthcare Advocacy during Innovators Forum

Earlier this month, twenty-eight First Tee participants attended the First Tee’s Innovators Forum in San Jose, California, where they participated in interactive workshops and heard from global leaders on a variety of topics including education, sustainability and healthcare advocacy. During their time there, they created a community service project plan to execute in the next eight months. First Tee Trustee, CapTech, was there to assist them in their creation of the service project through their creativity, innovation and goal development session.

Of the twenty-eight participants, two First Tee participants from Seattle and San Jose, Calif. were selected to receive a $10,000 educational stipend to support their continuing education for their intentional and innovative commitment to community service.

Austin Picinich from First Tee – Greater Seattle is a 16-year-old junior at Juanita High School. He is creating a community mural that educates visitors on the salmon life cycle and about the history of Juanita Creek, a creek where the salmon population has declined to nearly zero due to the pollution. Austin plans to partner with Urban Artworks to engage community members and provide them with a unique opportunity to become ambassadors for Juanita Creek. Ultimately, Austin desires to contribute funds to conservation groups assisting with making Juanita Creek healthy again.

Nancy Rivera from First Tee – Silicon Valley is a 17-year-old senior at University Preparatory Academy and is set to be a first-generation high school graduate. Through her service project, she plans to provide educational support for bilingual families that will be offered in accessible community areas. The workshops will be offered in Spanish and include resources on how to effectively communicate and support their child as they pursue post-secondary education, such as how to sign into school websites, how to navigate online resources, and more.

“We are proud of all of the teens that attended the First Tee Innovators Forum, and especially Austin and Nancy.” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of First Tee. “Their commitment to their communities is impressive and we look forward to watching them grow as leaders and game changers as they implement these important initiatives.”

Six additional First Tee participants are receiving $2,000 towards continuing their education, bringing the total amount awarded to $32,000.

The Innovators Forum is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee Headquarters to encourage and motivate participants as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. Find a chapter near you to learn more and get involved.

4 Ways To Encourage Positive Thinking In Kids

We all deal with highs and lows in life. Even as kids, we experience a variety of emotions that have a direct impact on our choices, and the way we think about ourselves. A bad experience can result in negative thinking which can be detrimental to a young person’s self confidence and outlook on life. That’s why positive thinking is so powerful— not just for adults but kids as well. Maintaining a positive attitude can be challenging at times, but through practice and encouragement it becomes a skill that can shape and transform young lives.

Just as you exercise your swing before hitting the ball, it’s important to practice things that can promote positive thinking. Our minds are valuable tools, and maintaining a healthy and positive headspace can improve confidence and drive in all aspects of life.

Here are four ways that you can encourage positive thinking in your kids:

  1. Always Give Your Best Effort – Parents and mentors should encourage kids to give their best effort as often as possible. At First Tee, we believe that it is important to help kids show up to the challenge, and develop the resilience and inner strength needed to give their best effort on and off the golf course. If kids can give their best effort in all of their endeavors, they will be able to realize what they are truly capable of. This can directly improve their confidence, and help them develop a positive attitude about the world around them.
  1. Give Back To Your Community – Giving back to your community, or causes that you care about is another great way to maintain a positive mindset. Volunteering can help your family connect with others who hold similar values and beliefs. Even activities as simple as tutoring someone on the weekend, or pulling a neighbor’s weeds can have a tremendous effect on the community you live in. When kids can see that their actions can make a positive difference in the world, they will be more likely to feel positively about themselves, and their community.
  1. Practice Positive Self-Talk – Parents and mentors should show kids the importance of being gentle with themselves and others. A great way to help kids develop this skill is to tell them to talk to themselves as if they are talking to their best friend. If they wouldn’t say something mean to their friend or loved one, they shouldn’t say it to themselves. The way we think directly impacts our behavior and feelings about the world. If kids can think positively about themselves, they will likely feel the same way about the world around them.
  1. Take Ownership & Responsibility For Your Actions – Helping kids realize they have control over the outcomes of the challenges they face can help build confidence and reduce overall anxiety. Reducing anxiety and practicing problem-solving skills at a young age can have a huge effect on how their mindset develops through the rest of their lives. Raising confident kids is one of the best ways to help encourage positive thinking.

First Tee guides kids and teens to strengthen what’s inside them and put it into action. It’s a priority for us to show young people the value of caring for their social and emotional wellness. So when they step up to the next shot, math test, or presentation they have the strength to move forward, aim further, and finish stronger than the last time.

If you are interested in getting your child involved with First Tee, you can learn more and sign up today.

Taking on Challenges

Taking on Challenges

Experiences can be some of our greatest teachers, and there are a variety of learning opportunities ahead for parents and students alike. While some will be fun and exciting, others may be challenging or difficult to navigate. Without practice or understanding, some of these new experiences are likely to leave students feeling overwhelmed and stressed. However, if you can help your student choose to see every experience as one that can build character, they’ll always come out better equipped for whatever comes next.

We believe in developing experiences that are just as fun as they are meaningful. As a result, our students are empowered by new challenges which result in continuous personal growth and essential character development.

Going back to school is the perfect opportunity to practice growing through challenges. To help parents and students navigate their back-to-school transition, we’ve developed a few tips to help them get ready.

  • Use STAR
    • S stands for STOP and take a deep breath.
    • T stands for THINK of all your choices.
    • A stands for ANTICIPATE what could happen (good or bad) as a result of your choice.
    • R stands for RESPOND by selecting the best choice for what to do.
  • Identify Challenges and Support
    • Ask your child to identify challenges for specific subjects and social interaction
    • Work with them to create a list of people they can lean on for support

Each of these steps can plant seeds of mindfulness as students go through everyday life. Taken directly from our First Tee programs, where we prepare kids to face new experiences by helping them to identify their support team, reflect on their opportunities, and strengthen what they bring to everything they do. We define strength of character as the self-confidence to show up to the challenge, the resilience to keep going when you fail, and the inner strength to do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing to do. It’s what will allow your child to walk away from failure determined, not defeated.

With our over 20 years of experience, we’ll continue developing experiences that build character to empower kids and teens through a lifetime of new challenges and continuous personal growth. This way your kids will never face a challenge they can’t go through or grow through. To learn more about getting your child involved with First Tee, you can find a chapter near you today!

USGA Extends Longtime Support of First Tee

USGA IDEA grant program delivers $200K to First Tee chapters in support of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL. (Oct. 20, 2021) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has distributed $200,000 in grants across 20 First Tee chapters through the inaugural IDEA grant program – a dedicated effort to directly empower inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts at the local golf level.

The program was created this year to address the barriers that underserved and underrepresented youths face in their potential introduction to and participation in golf and First Tee’s character-building programs. Grants range from $20,000 to $7,500 and support initiatives including transportation for youths to get to and from First Tee program locations as well as recruitment and training of diverse staff and coaches.

“We have a commitment as an organization to be an impactful partner to those in the industry who share our vision for what we want golf’s future to look like,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “Both the USGA and First Tee believe that golf is a better game now and in the future when it’s accessible and representative of everyone, and it starts at the junior level.”

“The USGA’s support is a game changer for youths in the communities that we serve,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “With these grants, our chapters are opening the door to even more youth, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities, to explore the possibilities in golf and beyond as they build their character and life lessons through the game.”

Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $33 million among First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip & Putt programs in an effort to provide greater access to golf for juniors and cultivate a lifelong passion for the game. The commitment is part of a $1.3 million annual investment the organization makes in national programs that reach young people, fueled by revenue from the U.S. Open.

Grant applications were available to First Tee chapters located within the 14 markets where USGA championships took place in 2021 and where they are scheduled in 2022, as well as chapters affiliated with one of the association’s 59 Allied Golf Associations (AGAs). Located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, AGAs serve millions of golfers at the recreational level by increasing engagement and participation and improving the golfer experience.

The 2021 grant recipients include:

First Tee ChapterUSGA Championship Host Communities and Supporting USGA Allied Golf Associations
First Tee — Central Carolina2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Coachella ValleySouthern California Golf Association
First Tee — Connecticut2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, Connecticut State Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Baltimore                                                   2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — Greater CharlestonCarolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Cincinnati & Northern KentuckyGreater Cincinnati Golf Association
First Tee — Greater PasadenaSouthern California Golf Association
First Tee — Greater PhiladelphiaGolf Association of Philadelphia  
First Tee — Greater Washington, DC2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — HawaiiHawaii State Golf Association  
First Tee — LouisvilleKentucky Golf Association
First Tee — Metropolitan New York  2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Metropolitan Golf Association
First Tee — Omaha2021 U.S. Senior Open, Nebraska Golf Association
First Tee — Pittsburgh  2021 U.S. Amateur, Western Pennsylvania Golf Association
First Tee — San Diego2021 U.S. Open, Southern California Golf Association
First Tee — Sandhills2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Silicon Valley2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Northern California Golf Association
First Tee — Upstate South CarolinaCarolinas Golf Association
First Tee — West Michigan2021 U.S. Senior Amateur, Golf Association of Michigan
First Tee — West VirginiaWest Virginia Golf Association

The Impact Of Having A Good Mentor

Having someone that you can look up to and go to for support is one the most important things a kid can have. Mentors give youth (and even adults) the confidence they need to confront challenges and come up with their own solutions. They provide a safe place for kids and teens to be themselves and have fun, while also learning valuable life skills.  

A great mentor has many traits— they can be a role model, cheerleader, policy enforcer, advocate, and friend to the students they work with. First Tee mentors have a sincere desire to be involved with their students, and treat them with respect. They practice active listening skills and empathy, while also seeking solutions and opportunities for those they work with. 

We celebrate each of our coaches, and recognize them for the unique role they play in young lives. In fact, research shows that First Tee participants think of their coaches as more than just teachers and counselors, but real mentors who have made a positive difference in their lives. 

Here are four ways a mentor impacts their mentees that were inspired and created by what our junior golfers have to say about their coaches:

1. Mentors show that you can never stop learning

They are always growing and showcasing that to their mentees who can feel inspired by how they adapt to life’s challenges.

“I constantly heard that sport emulates life, and life emulates sports. I didn’t understand this concept until I started the First Tee program. Through this sport, I learned accountability and responsibility for my actions and how to respond to adversity.  These lessons have affected my thinking about the impact I have on those around me and how important it is for me to strive to be my best self.”  – Quincy Crawford, participant, 2021 Scholar

2. Mentors help inspire students to be game-changers

Not just for themselves, but in their everyday lives and especially with their peers.

“Having an amazing mentor through the First Tee who I have developed a strong relationship with has inspired me to help others find mentors that can help them through their education and career.”Remi Shendell, participant, First Tee Scholar

3. Mentors teach the importance of active listening

Not only do they offer support, but they show how valuable it can be to listen to someone in both good and bad times.

“Coach Mary Beth McGirr has been a major influence in my life, helping me with golf and with learning critical life skills that will aid me throughout my life. She took me under her wing and has been a shining example for me to follow. Additionally, as a woman, she has been an amazing mentor and example of a strong, confident female for me to look up to and admire. Coach Mary Beth has been one of my biggest fans and encourages me to do my best. She takes time to talk about my golf, life, family and personal struggles. She has been an excellent example of a strong leader and businesswoman who consistently gives back to the game and the community.” –  Alyssa Caraballo, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley

4. Mentors guide students to lead by example

It’s easy to tell someone what to do, but more impactful to give students the tools and examples they need to come to their own solutions.

“Coach Donnie Caldwell, PGA has given me great advice with my golf but more importantly, in my life. He has told me ‘make choices today that you’ll be proud of tomorrow.’ I used to just make choices that seemed the easiest or most convenient. But now I take time to think about those big decisions and how my choices may also affect others. Without him and his advice, I don’t know where I would be with my life, and that’s scary. He has made me a better person and he has shown me how to make the most of my life.” – Braxton Caldwell, First Tee of Pine Mountain

As you can see, the impact of a great mentor is one of our strongest tools in life. Our mentors work to guarantee students that there is someone who cares about them and who will assure them they are not alone in dealing with challenges. Offered at more than 1,200 locations, our program was developed by experts in the field of positive youth development and is delivered by trained coaches, or as our participants say— mentors! 

Check with your local chapter about how you can become a mentor to a junior golfer in your community.

6 Ways To Show Up For Others

We believe character is learned, cultivated, and shaped by our experiences. At First Tee,  we focus on taking the valuable lessons learned on the course, and applying them to everyday lives at school, at home, and in our communities. We believe that part of being a good leader and becoming a game-changer involves showing up for others whenever possible. Here are six ways that you can encourage your child to show up and help others: 

At Home

  • Encourage them to help with household chores. By taking on important tasks around the house, they can help  maintain a clean space for themselves while alleviating stress on the whole family. Handling household chores develops a sense of personal responsibility, time management, and can build leadership skills.
  • Have them dedicate time to helping their younger siblings with homework. By spending time teaching their siblings, they can strengthen their relationships with each other, and exceed in their classes. Teaching others often builds intelligence and increases confidence.

In The Community

  • Encourage your child to help individuals in the community. By helping vulnerable members of the community, your child can make a real difference in their lives. Additionally, helping others will help teach your child compassion and empathy, two qualities of good leaders.
  • Sign them up to volunteer for a local nonprofit with ties to the community or neighborhood. Volunteering is typically a social activity, which will help build connections with other locals that are likely to share similar interests and values. Volunteering locally will also provide a sense of personal satisfaction, and will make your child  feel more connected to their community.

At School 

  • Suggest tutoring a struggling classmate. Teaching others is oftentimes the best way to understand a topic yourself. By tutoring others, your child will have the opportunity to show compassion and build relationships, while also helping them to better understand the material and become more self confident.
  • Encourage your child to befriend anyone who may be new to the community or struggling socially. By befriending classmates who are having trouble making friends, your child can empower them and help build their confidence. This simple act of kindness can play a major role in making other students feel included and more engaged at school. 
These six suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways you can teach your child to show up for others. Our coaches and staff at First Tee encourage you to practice some of these suggestions, and come up with your own. We guide kids and teens to strengthen what’s inside  and put it into action. If you are interested in getting your child involved with First Tee, you can learn more and sign up today! 

WHOOP and First Tee Announce Multi-Year Partnership

WHOOP contributions to First Tee build on shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and support for empowering youth through golf

BOSTON, October 8, 2021 WHOOP, the human performance company, and First Tee, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, announced a multi-year partnership that will support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across First Tee’s network as well as support First Tee — Massachusetts with transportation and equipment needs for participants.

“First Tee empowers children and teens with self-confidence and resilience through the game of golf.” said WHOOP Founder and CEO Will Ahmed. “The organization’s focus aligns with the WHOOP mission to unlock human performance. We’re honored to support First Tee as it creates such transformational experiences for kids.”

First Tee began in 1997 and has been proven to have a lasting impact beyond skills learned on the course. After joining a First Tee chapter, program participants demonstrate their ability to transfer life skills, such as problem solving, goal setting and self-management, to school and life. Today, First Tee reaches more than 3.7 million youth ages 5-18 annually across 1,200 programming locations, over 9,000 schools and over 1,300 youth-serving locations, empowering participants to build their confidence to take on new challenges and opportunities.

“We are grateful for partners like WHOOP who share our values and passion for empowering youth through golf,” said First Tee CEO Greg McLaughlin. “With support of our dedicated partners, we are expanding our reach, especially inviting those who are in underserved communities to have access to programs and new opportunities.”

In addition to supporting First Tee nationally and First Tee — Massachusetts, WHOOP has made its industry-leading wearable technology available at a discount to over 20,000 First Tee volunteers so they may optimize their health and wellness goals on and off the course.

For WHOOP, this new partnership with First Tee builds on the company’s established connection to the sport of golf. WHOOP is the official fitness wearable of the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour and is currently worn by top golfers such as Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Nelly and Jess Korda. Howard University Athletics also named WHOOP as the official performance partner for their women’s and men’s golf teams’ inaugural season. This new commitment to First Tee allows even more athletes and students to benefit from the organization’s programming and aligns with the WHOOP mission to unlock human potential.

To learn more about First Tee, please visit

81 First Tee Teens from Across the Country Experience Week of a Lifetime at PURE Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee at Pebble Beach

Teens from Monterey, Calif. and Baltimore win Pro-Junior Titles

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2021) – First Tee teens from across the country had the opportunity to learn from the game’s legends and explore possibilities in golf and beyond during the PURE Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee, which concluded today at Pebble Beach.  An official PGA TOUR Champions event, the participants are paired with PGA TOUR Champions players providing life-changing mentoring opportunities for the teens. Colin Vineberg from First Tee – Greater Baltimore, paired with Rocco Mediate, and Sydney Craven from First Tee – Monterey County, paired with Tim Petrovic, claimed the male and female Pro-Junior titles today, respectively. Vineberg and Mediate finished 23-under, while Craven and Petrovic capped off the event 26-under. First Tee is a national youth development program that empowers young people build character and life skills through the game of golf. The event, in its 18th year, brings 81 teens from First Tee chapters nationwide to Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill. Throughout the week the teens apply the life and leadership skills learned from First Tee programs as they compete on the national stage. The annual event, hosted by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, was televised internationally on Golf Channel. Caption: Colin Vineberg, First Tee – Greater Baltimore, Sydney Craven, First Tee – Monterey County with First Tee CEO Greg McLaughlin “We are proud of all the teens who played with confidence and composure this week at the PURE Insurance Championship,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “These young people exemplify the character and values we instill through the First Tee programs every day. A special congratulations to Colin and Sydney for winning the Pro-Junior titles. Thank you to our partners – PURE Insurance, PGA TOUR Champions, Chevron, Monterey Peninsula Foundation and Golf Channel – for making this a special week for 81 First Tee participants.” Craven is an 18-year-old senior from Monterey County where she has a 3.8 GPA at Robert Louis Stevenson School. She is an active member of Student Council and the Interact Club. Involved with First Tee – Monterey County for nine years, she holds an 8 handicap and credits the program for developing life skills and a deeper appreciation of values, such as responsibility, that will help her become a leader. She aspires to play collegiate golf and one day on the LPGA Tour. “I am so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity,” said Craven. “Thank you to PURE Insurance and First Tee for this experience. I’ve learned so many life lessons this week playing with the professionals that I will take with me beyond the golf course.” Vineberg is a 16-year-old junior from Sparks, MD where he has a 3.7 GPA at St. Paul’s School. He has been involved with First Tee – Greater Baltimore for 10 years and is a game changer in his community volunteering with many organizations, from serving food to the homeless to mentoring younger junior golfers. Vineberg holds a 2 handicap and aspires to play collegiate golf. “This week has been a once-in-lifetime experience. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and so thankful for First Tee for helping me build my confidence to play an iconic course like Pebble Beach with legends of the game. I hope I can make a difference in the lives of others like First Tee has had in my life. Thank you to PURE Insurance for the amazing opportunity.” During the week, First Tee partners PURE Insurance and Chevron both hosted events to celebrate their commitment to First Tee’s mission and raise additional funds to support the First Tee College Scholarship Program. The program pairs Scholars with a mentor and provides professional development workshops and financial assistance throughout the college experience. First Tee is a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf. The PURE Insurance Championship is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee Headquarters to encourage and motivate participants as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. Photos from the event are available here. For more information on the tournament, visit To learn more about First Tee and see the full field list, visit

First Tee – Los Angeles to Launch Programs Spring 2022

Youth from the after-school program Beyond the Bell enjoyed a kickoff clinic featuring Korn Ferry Tour player and First Tee alumnus Chase Johnson yesterday

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Sept. 14, 2021) – First Tee, a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, will begin offering programs to Los Angeles-area youth in Spring 2022. More than 50 kids participated in a kick-off event at Chester Washington Golf Course featuring Korn Ferry Tour player and First Tee alumnus Chase Johnson. [Photos and broll are available here.] “Los Angeles is such an important community, and we are pleased with the progress underway to relaunch our programs next spring,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “As evidenced by the young people who attended yesterday’s event, we feel confident that we will open doors and make an impact on the youth we serve here. Special thanks to Chase for participating in the event and ESPN for their support.” “Because of First Tee I’ve had all the opportunities to play collegiate golf, get to the Korn Ferry Tour and prepare to go to the PGA TOUR,” Chase said. “Anything is possible with the support of caring mentors and role models like the First Tee coaches I had growing up at First Tee — Akron, whether it’s playing golf at the professional level and pursing a professional career.” First Tee is a national youth development organization with approximately 150 chapters nationwide and in select international locations. The program is delivered at golf courses, in schools and through after-school partnerships, and is designed to empower youth to build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience that they can carry to everything that they do, including school. First Tee — Los Angeles will begin offering programs next spring at golf courses in South L.A. and will expand throughout Los Angeles County in the coming years. Coaches will partake in First Tee’s coach training program, which is built on research-proven methods of positive youth development and will provide them with the tools to make kids feel safe, included and empowered. Beyond programs offered locally, participants who advance through the program will be eligible to apply for national participant opportunities hosted by First Tee Headquarters. From being mentored by PGA TOUR Champions players at Pebble Beach to a College Scholarship Program that provides support through personal and professional development workshops and mentorship, the national opportunities invite high school students to expand horizons, meet new people and open the doors to new experiences as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. The announcement was made yesterday during a kick-off clinic held at Chester Washington Golf Course. Sponsored by ESPN, a First Tee Trustee, Johnson hosted the clinic for 50 youth from Beyond the Bell, an after-school program focused on providing high quality, safe and supervised programs for students in Los Angeles. The students, many of whom have not played the game of golf, had hands-on opportunities to swing a golf club in a setting that empowers them to embrace challenge and try something new. Photos and broll from the clinic are available here. For more information on First Tee, visit

Quick 9: Denise W


Denise W, First Tee – San Francisco 

1. Why is mentorship important?

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed, especially since we now live in an extremely fast-paced world where expectations for us are very high, so having a mentor to guide us through our development process is definitely reassuring.

2. What makes someone a good mentor?

Listening and being able to communicate effectively are qualities that make someone a good mentor. With such qualities, a mentor will be able to offer constructive feedback which will aid in a mentee’s future development.

3. Who has been an impactful mentor to you?

My mom has definitely been the most impactful mentor for me.

4. What have you learned from her/him?

From my mom, I learned that no matter what the circumstances are, hard work pays off. My mom immigrated to the U.S. in hopes to find better future prospects for the family and despite not knowing any English, she still continued to work hard in the U.S. to achieve her goals. In the end, all of her hard work and efforts paid off because she was able to provide the basic necessities for our family and grant my siblings and I access to a higher education.

5. How did/does your mentor help encourage you?

My mom always tells me, “Don’t be afraid of failure. Just go for it!” These are words that I will always remember because they encourage me to try new things, even if I don’t necessarily succeed. It’s a way of telling me that failure is a learning experience and if I fail, I can keep trying.

6. Have you grown as a result of your mentor?

Yes, I have grown as a result of my mom. Her guidance has helped me become more disciplined and more open to new experiences and opportunities. Without her, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.

7. What would it mean to you to become a mentor? Or Do you serve as a mentor at your chapter or any other capacity?

For me, being a mentor is very meaningful and fulfilling because not only am I able to help others, I am also able to develop myself further as a leader.

8. Do you have any advice on how to choose the best mentor in your life?

Find someone who cares about you and is willing to take the time out of their busy day to listen to your needs and help you.

9. What has First Tee taught you about mentorship?

First Tee has taught me that both the mentor and mentee are learners. Both rely on each other as a resource for new perspectives and knowledge. It’s not a one way relationship where only the mentor is helping the mentee.