Turn Off the Monitor, Turn on the Fun

Unplug your family’s digital devices and Jump into screen-free activities to spark creativity, strengthen communication skills, and support individuality.

Being “screen-free” means turning off your televisions, monitors, and phones and rediscovering life outside of the digital world by exploring and playing together. Today, the majority of American children spend five to eight hours a day in front of a screen and less than one hour outside, meaning the average child’s sleep quality, attention span, and stress levels could be negatively affected by the tight grip of modern technology. Monitoring and limiting your child’s screen time allows you to promote non-digital activities, like family cooking nights, berry picking, building a fort, creative writing, painting, exploring the town, or our favorite: playing sports. The First Tee supports this tech-free time initiative by providing outdoor activity programs while teaching values that build character and inspire daily play away from a screen.

Promoting your child’s involvement in outside activities has proven to improve general mood, attention, and memory while reducing ADHD symptoms like being easily distracted, lack of focus, or struggling with over-stimulation between school, homework, and online games. Playing outside allows your child to release energy in a healthy way, raise levels of serotonin production – our body’s natural anti-depressant – and routinely soak in some Vitamin D. Involving your child in a sport program guarantees time every week for outside play, or creating family goals like reading before bed, Friday board games, or Sunday morning bike rides can build stronger family connections and allow for exploration of other interests while encouraging the development of individuality. Screen-free time can be beneficial for your child and the whole family!

If tech-free time interests you, consider registering your child for one of the 1,200 program locations of The First Tee working to reduce screen time across the United States.

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Golf Brings People Together

Kids from both The First Tee of the Inland Empire and China gather together for a eight team match play

It was a typical summer day in Southern California, where junior golfers from The First Tee of the Inland Empire pushed through weather conditions of 100 degrees and high humidity just to compete and play the game they love. But this day was different than just a normal golf day. This day reflected The First Tee Nine Core Values more than ever and brought kids from opposite ends of the world together through golf.

On July 27, 2018, The First Tee of the Inland Empire was asked to play in a friendly competition with the Jerry Wong Golf Academy. Jerry Wong runs an academy at Oak Valley Golf Club in Beaumont, California where his passion runs deep for hosting a number of students that come over from main land China to learn the game of golf. Thinking the opportunity would be a wonderful cultural exchange for The First Tee students and the kids from China, both groups jumped at the idea.

Their Objective

1) Have fun

2) Compete

3) Make Us Proud

And that’s exactly what they did. The First Tee participants were paired with the kids from China in a match play for eight groups of two players, consisting of both boys and girls. Groups were matched based on their ability levels and ages, each fitted with The First Tee of the Inland Empire t-shirts . For most of these junior golfers, this was the first time they had played in a match play event. Not only did the tournament provide a rewarding experience for the kids, but parents from The First Tee also got involved as they followed their kids on the course and helped cheer on the kids from China when they made a good shot.

“What made me the proudest was seeing the Nine Core Values come out of our kids. Honesty, Courtesy, Respect, Perseverance to name a few.”

– JT Visbal, Co-Founder & Board President of The First Tee of the Inland Empire


This experience has prompted the chapter to create a tournament team to help prepare students for matches of this nature with the Jerry Wong Academy moving forward. After all, in the end, it’s all about the kids.

  


Get Involved

With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee offers programs to youth from all backgrounds—no golf experience needed! Each chapter has their own unique opportunities, like The First Tee of the Inland Empire. If you know a kid interested in golf, visit our location map to find a local chapter!

Find a Chapter

How Do You Use The First Tee Nine Core Values?

What are The First Tee Nine Core Values? To us, it’s our bread and butter. It’s the nine concepts that you’ll find in every golf lesson, drill and opportunity kid’s experience at The First Tee. They are the values inherent to the game of golf:

  • Honesty – reporting your own score and calling penalties on yourself
  • Integrity – being responsible for your actions on the golf course, even when no one is looking
  • Sportsmanship – observing the rules of play and winning or losing with grace
  • Respect – showing respect for oneself, playing partners, competitors, the golf course and traditions of the game
  • Confidence – increasing confidence in your ability by being positive
  • Responsibility – being responsible for your actions on the golf course, including reparing balls marks and keeping up pace of play
  • Perseverance – to succeed in golf, players must continue through bad breaks and their own mistakes
  • Courtesy – starting and ending a game of golf with a handshake between competitors
  • Judgment – deciding strategy, club selection and when to play safe and when to take a chance

We not only teach these values through experience-based learning out on the golf course but by also reinforcing to kids and parents how these values look at home and in school.

We could talk all day about how we teach these values, but why not hear from some of our participants on how their favorite core value has impacted their lives.

How do you apply the core values to your life?

Brinkley Beever, The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas
Integrity:
I didn’t play competitive golf until my freshman year in high school. Although my experience level was extremely low, I knew with determination and athletic ability I could eventually compete. I played in several tournaments and noticed girls cheating. It frustrated me, especially when I found myself in a situation where my ball moved as I set my club down behind it. No one was around to see it, but I knew it was a penalty. I took the penalty and ended up losing that match by 1 stroke.

Braxton Caldwell, The First Tee of Pine Mountain
Perseverance:
Perseverance represents me the most because when I was a young child, my biological mother was sentenced to 47 years in prison. A lot of people could use that as an excuse to make bad decisions or to not apply themselves 100%. I have used it as motivation to show other people like me that it is possible to be a successful person and not have had the perfect childhood.

Tyler Kim, The First Tee of Metropolitan New York
Respect: I value the respect that one shows for one’s peers and environment. I’m a firm believer that if everyone treats each other and their surroundings with respect, the experience of learning new skills will be enjoyable for everyone. I always try to approach anything I do with as much respect as possible and I try to impart this same mentality on those that I mentor.

handshake_courtesyJake Huffaker, The First Tee of Salina
Sportsmanship: I believe that sportsmanship represents me the most because I have a tremendous respect for the game and other players. I believe that if you possess great sportsmanship, it will help you in nearly any environment you are thrown into. Having sportsmanship shows people that you love doing whatever you do, it immediately persuades people to enjoy your company and to have a positive view of you.


GET INVOLVED

With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee offers programs to youth from all backgrounds—no golf experience needed! If you know a kid interested in golf, visit our location map to find a local chapter!

Find a Chapter

Five Reasons Your Kids Should Learn Golf This Summer

Summer is almost here, which means you may be wondering how to fill your child’s time while school is out. This summer, consider an activity that keeps your child active while learning values and life skills that will help them at school and at home: GOLF.

Here are 5 Reasons Your Kids Should Learn Golf This Summer:

1. Your kid will have fun

Golf looks different at The First Tee. Kids participate in group classes where they meet others from all walks of life. And they don’t start off by playing 18-holes, which can be really intimidating for a beginner. Our trained coaches come up with fun and creative games to introduce golf concepts to kids. Not convinced? Just wait until your kid plays golf tic-tac-toe!

2. Anyone can Play

To a kid, golf may seem like a sport only older people play, but that’s only because golf is a lifelong sport. Imagine playing a game you love and can play forever. We offer youth golf programs to youth ages 7 to 18, no matter their background or experience. Worried about affording the game? The average cost per 6-week session is $72. And chapters offer financial aid, so no kid is ever turned away.

3. More time outside

Studies1 show that kids are spending less time outside these days. At The First Tee, you’ll rarely find us in the classroom. We are in the business of doing, not telling. Increased sports activities lead to improved cognitive and academic skills2, which is why participants are taught the game of golf through experience-based learning, out on the golf course or driving range.

4. Learn More than a golf swing

You know that “experience-based learning” we were just talking about? Well, that isn’t just to teach kids the basics of golf. While learning the fundamentals of a golf swing, The First Tee’s character education programs provide a fun, active environment to teach kids how to manage emotions, resolve conflicts, communicate, set goals and much more. They will learn about The First Tee life skills, Nine Core Values and the Nine Healthy Habits.

5. Golf is More Exciting than Ever

Ask anyone who watches golf today, the game still has a few surprises up its sleeve. A large part due to the return of Tiger Woods and many other PGA TOUR players who are defying the odds. The First Tee has a few surprises too, as we offer many exciting national events for kids who progress through our program, including an event played at Pebble Beach!

So why not pick up the game this summer? You may just end up achieving greatness.

Don’t Fizzle when the summer starts to sizzle

At more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee program offers summer programs that are fun and delivered by trained coaches. Our mission is to help prepare kids and teens from all backgrounds for success in all areas of life. Chapters offer full scholarship or reduced fee programming for those with financial need.

Find a chapter 


Sources:

  1. https://www.childinthecity.org/2018/01/15/children-spend-half-the-time-playing-outside-in-comparison-to-their-parents/
  2. https://sparkpe.org/blog/healthy-body-healthy-mind-the-benefits-of-physical-activity-in-school/

9 Reasons to Invest in The First Tee

Today’s children are growing up in a challenging time. While communities are extremely dedicated to helping and investing in young people, no one entity can do it alone. We believe young people need support both in and out of school, and in and out of the home. That’s our goal.

You can make a difference by investing in our nation’s future today.

Here are nine reasons to invest in The First Tee:

1 – We are more than a junior golf program.
We are a youth development organization and we are on a mission to positively impact the lives of young people across the nation and beyond.

2 – We have top-notch coaches and mentors.
One in three (16 million) young people will grow up without a mentor 
in their lives. However, our third-party research shows that our participants refer to their coaches as mentors. They believe their coaches care about them and help them set goals. Also, participants are inspired to apply the life skills learned through The First Tee in their homes and communities.

3 – We emphasize The First Tee Nine Core Values.
Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment are the foundation of our lessons.

4 – We teach life skills like goal-setting and properly introducing oneself.
Our character education and life skills programs help young people prepare for success in high school, college, and life.

5 – We collaborate with other partners and the school district.
Our programs are not only delivered within our chapters, but also youth centers, like Boys and Girls Clubs and the Y (The First Tee DRIVE) as well elementary schools across the nation (The First Tee National School Program).

invest6 – We are affordable.
The First Tee chapters keep fees very low while delivering high-quality programs. We never turn away a child in financial need. And the average cost is $72 for a six-week session.

7 – We are relevant.
The First Tee’s curriculum addresses two major epidemics among young people today: child obesity and the 1 in 5 high school drop-out rate.

8 – We are a 501(c)3 non-profit.
Additionally, your donations are 100% tax deductible.

9 – We need your support.
Our organization could not continue without the support of our volunteers and donors. Your support makes a true difference in the lives of young people today.

Invest in The First Tee today!

Responsibility: How Youth Can Apply it on the Course and at Home

Golf requires more than a good swing; it takes personal responsibility. Junior golfers must learn to be accountable for their own actions and be dependable. Each person to keep their own score, understand the rules, take care of their equipment, repair divots and rake bunkers. As youth progress through the program, they demonstrate even greater initiative and personal accountability.

Responsibility ON THE GOLF COURSE

Playing golf is about more than learning the basics of a golf swing. Succeeding in golf also means showing consideration to the course and other players.

On the golf course, junior golfers can practice Responsibility by:

  1. responsibility_bunkerKeeping accurate score
  2. Repairing divots
  3. Raking bunkers
  4. Repairing ball marks on the green
  5. Keeping up with the pace of play

Responsibility AT HOME OR IN SCHOOL

At The First Tee, our goal is to help youth take the skills they learn on the golf course and bridge these skills to life. We encourage parents and guardians to reinforce these values in everyday life, off the course. Coaches encourage kids and teens to practice this core value at home, at school or out in the community.

Here are 3 Ways Junior Golfers can Apply Responsibility Off The Course:

responsibility_school

  1. At home, remember to pick up your room and do your chores without being told.
  2. Turn in your homework or projects whenever your teachers tell you they are due.
  3. Wherever you are, always leave things better than you found them.

Why GET INVOLVED WITH THE FIRST TEE?

Golf is so much more than a game. Our programs use golf as a way to help your child learn how to set goals, resolve conflicts, develop leadership skills and more—all while having fun! With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee offers programs to youth from all backgrounds and no golf experience needed! If you know a young person who would enjoy The First Tee, visit our locations map to find a local chapter!

Chapter Locations

Developing Leaders: Impact Beyond the Golf Course

How do youth at The First Tee grow up to be leaders and positive influences in their community? It starts with positive youth development. Developing leaders requires recognizing and enhancing young people’s strengths. That’s what The First Tee is all about. We use golf a way to create supportive and positive environments needed to build on those strengths. Through opportunities and positive mentoring relationships, youth today become leaders of tomorrow.

Alumni, like 21-year-old Luke Shrestha from The First Tee of Fresno, amaze us with their talents and accomplishments. Luke shares in his own way how his chapter helped him become the person he is today.

Luke’s Leadership Journey


Luke Shrestha, alumnus, The First Tee of Fresno

When I first joined The First Tee of Fresno around the age of 10, I was a super shy kid that would be more likely to look at the ground than look someone in the eyes. I didn’t know how to introduce myself to another person properly and I hardly talked at all. I remember being skeptical of having to learn life values along with golf since I just wanted to learn about golf, but my mom signed me up anyway. After that day, every class that I went to I started to open up more and more and the shyness started to go away. After a year in the program, I could easily go up to someone and introduce myself with no problem.

Growing in Confidence

As a kid, I struggled with confidence, but The First Tee classes helped me become more confident as well. After many years in the program, I started applying to go to national academies that The First Tee offered. I got accepted to go to Kansas one year for a Life Skills & Leadership Academy, and to Virginia the next year for the College Golf Prep Academy. In both of those experiences, I met people that I still keep in contact with today and play some of the best golf courses in the country. I will always treasure those memories. Without The First Tee of Fresno, none of those life-changing experiences would have happened.

Giving Back to the Community

For a couple years during college, I coached for The First Tee. This was such a rewarding and educational experience for me to not only be able to help kids that may have been in the same situation I was in at their age, but I also learned how to teach and give back. I had to learn how create a lesson plan, deal with rambunctious children, and how to be a leader. Learning life skills, especially leadership skills, in The First Tee helped me many times and even got me a job organizing and partly leading a company.

Pursuing a Career with Courage

Today, I am in Los Angeles working fulltime as a music producer and songwriter. Through the things I learned in The First Tee, I have been able to work on platinum selling records and billboard number ones. I have been able to be in the studio with some of the biggest artists of today, and I have the confidence to know my skills and creativity are valuable. I know for a fact that without The First Tee, I would not be down in LA making music like I am now.

The First Tee of Fresno not only instilled confidence in me, it also made me more driven, showed me how to go after my goals and dreams, and how to approach stressful situations. All the life lessons that I was taught as a kid, I still use today. Every session I walk into, I walk into with the same mindset I used to walk onto the golf course with. A mindset of leadership, confidence, courage, patience, perseverance and every single Nine Core Value.

Thank you so much to all my Fresno coaches for the guidance and support throughout the years. I would not be the person I am today without that guidance.


WHY CHOOSE THE FIRST TEE?

Research shows our youth development program has a lasting impact, creating better citizens and lifelong golfers in the process. Our program aims to get young people ready for life’s challenges and pursue their goals. Find a chapter in your area to get started!

Our Program

Integrity: How Youth Can Apply it on the Course and at Home

Integrity, one of The First Tee Nine Core Values, requires players to adhere to a set of standards upon which their behavior will be judged—a sense of personal honesty. Players who live with integrity know the rules of golf and embrace the etiquette of the game. They hold relationships in high regard and maintain their composure even when they think no one is looking.

integrity ON THE GOLF COURSE

On the golf course, junior golfers can practice integrity by:

1. Calling penalties on themselves
2. Keeping accurate score
3. Doing what is right, even when it is an unpopular or personally costly decision
4. Playing according to the Rules and Etiquette of the Game of Golf

integrity AT HOME OR IN SCHOOL

It is also important for kids and teens to practice this core value at home, at school or out in the community.

here are 3 WAYS junior golfers can APPLY Integrity OFF THE COURSE:

1. Being kind and respectful to your siblings, even when your parents aren’t around.
2. Making a decision to complete your homework on your own rather than copying one of your friend’s homework.
3. When you think no one is looking, throwing your trash in the trash can rather than throwing it on the street.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE FIRST TEE?

With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee offers programs to youth from all backgrounds—no golf experience needed! If you know a young person who would enjoy The First Tee, visit our locations map to find a local chapter!

Chapter Locations

Judgment: How Youth Can Apply it on the Course and at Home

So many things in life rely on good judgment. We often find ourselves in situations where there are no right or wrong answers. Our final decision—both on and off the golf course—comes down to a matter of judgment, one of The First Tee Nine Core Values.

judgment_child putting_portraitJUDGMENT ON THE GOLF COURSE

On the golf course, good judgment comes into consideration when a player is:

1. Deciding on strategy
2. Making a club selection
3. Figuring out when to play safe and when to take a chance
4. Considering the type of shot to execute next
5. Making healthy choices on and off the golf course

judgment AT HOME OR IN SCHOOL

It is also important for kids and teens to practice this core value at home, at school or out in the community.

here are 3 WAYS junior golfers can APPLY JUDGMENT OFF THE COURSE:

1. Making healthy choices about what you eat and drink—for example drinking water vs. a soft drink
2. Making a decision to complete your homework that is due tomorrow before you watch your favorite television show or play your favorite video game
3. Choosing to hang out with friends who are positive and live by the Nine Core Values (like you) vs. making friends with people who don’t

WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE FIRST TEE?

With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee offers programs to youth from all backgrounds—no golf experience needed! If you know a young person who would enjoy The First Tee, visit our locations map to find a local chapter!

Chapter Locations

Respect: How Youth Can Apply it on the Course & at Home

Etiquette is an integral part of golf, defining golf’s core values. It describes the manner in which the game of golf should be played to ensure all players gain maximum enjoyment. In short, golf is about respect.

RESPECT ON THE GOLF COURSE

Respect is one of The First Tee Nine Core Values. Golf is one of the few sports where it’s up to the individual player to have respect for the game by keeping an honest score. This same personal accountability also extends to golf course maintenance (repairing divots and raking the bunkers), keeping up with pace of play and being considerate of other players.

It is important to show respect for oneself, playing partners, fellow competitors, the golf course, and for the honor and traditions of the game.

RESPECT AT HOME OR IN SCHOOL

In addition to showing respect on the course, it is important for kids and teens to practice this core value at home, at school or out in the community.

here are 3 WAYS kids & teens can APPLY RESPECT OFF THE COURSE

1. Following a teacher’s instructions and abiding by class rules when at school.
2. Abiding by the rules of the road – to include no texting – when driving a car.
3. Following through on any chores or other household tasks that parents/guardians have asked to be complete.

respect-benchWANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE FIRST TEE?

With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee offers programs to youth from all backgrounds—no golf experience needed! If you know a young person who would enjoy The First Tee, visit our locations map to find a local chapter!

Chapter Locations

Why The First Tee National School Program is Right for Your School

Physical education programs are a great way to introduce youth to new activities. And The First Tee National School Program was designed to do just that! The program gives elementary students the opportunity to learn golf and how to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

“I am particularly excited that we’ve been able to tie skills to the larger picture of what we want a student to grow up and look like and sound like as an adult. We are very, very grateful for this program.”  — Principal, Jacksonville, Fl.

school golf program 1So, why choose The First Tee? Here are four reasons why The First Tee National School Program is right for your school and students.

Reason #1: Golf

The great thing about golf is that it’s a game anyone can play and anyone can teach for a lifetime! Lesson plans and training included with the program were designed for physical educators regardless of their knowledge of golf! Through fun activities, PE teachers guide students through a basic understanding of golf motor skills by engaging students in activities such as putting, chipping, pitching and full swings. We want to show them that golf can be a lifelong activity!

REASON #2: SAFETY

Safety is the top priority for PE teachers who practice what The First Tee calls the “5 layers of safety.” Through proper planning and set up of the activities, students learn how to respectfully take turns, swing the golf club safely, manage their behavior and establish consistent routines.

Reason #3: Core Values

By establishing a “core value of the day” that is in line with The First Tee Nine Core Values, PE teachers easily observe and track how a child learns and demonstrates a specific behavior during activities. Furthermore, students learn how to apply the core values beyond PE class to other areas of their lives – at home or in the classroom.

school golf program 2Reason #4: Healthy Habits

Each lesson warm-up introduces students to physical, emotional and social practices that align with The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits.

What next?

Want to upgrade your child’s PE experience? Here are a few steps:

  1. Contact our Outreach team by completing this form.
  2. We’ll work with you to identify funding opportunities (this can be the school, a donor, or corporation).
  3. After identifying funding, we train the PE teacher.
  4. Schools receive the curriculum and equipment after training.
  5. Students start enjoying golf in school!

How Skills Learned on the Golf Course can Drive Your Future Success

Friendships and confidence are only two of the many reasons sports – like golf! – empower girls for life and leadership. Golf is the perfect platform for girls to build character, leadership skills and core values like perseverance, confidence and judgment. The John Deere Drive Your Future Academy is an all-girls event focused on leadership development.

During the week, 24 teenage girls learn the value of remaining active in golf, the positive impact of volunteerism, and the importance of teamwork from influential female leaders and executives. Kendel Abrams, from The First Tee of Greater Baltimore, shares her experience from the inaugural event.

What were some of the highlights and biggest takeaways from the event?

Some of my highlights included getting to play East Lake Golf Club for the first time. It is such an incredible layout. I cannot thank the staff at East Lake enough for making my experience an unforgettable memory. One of biggest takeaways is to always be adaptive. In life there are many times where an obstacle may interfere with a desired journey. However, it is important to navigate around these obstacles in order to arrive at a final destination. Through the life lessons from the First Tee, I realized the only way to reach a goal is to show perseverance and resilience through challenging times. After all, nothing is really considered a challenge since a challenge is just another word for an unforeseen opportunity.

What was your favorite part of the event?

My favorite part of the event was teaching those at a retirement center how to play golf. It was first time interacting with the locals in Atlanta, Georgia. Hearing their stories of when they were my age was eye opening. It made me really appreciate and cherish every opportunity I am given even more knowing that previous generations paved the way for me to do so. My time spent with them was, in a way, a chance to thank them for being the pioneers for many generations to come.

How did the event inspire you?

The event has inspired me to teach girls of all ages the tricks to properly network. As the founder of Grasp Girls With Golf, it is my goal to not only teach girls the fundamentals of golf but also the benefits of the sport such as networking, internships and scholarships. John Deere representatives informed me of the various careers related to golf course management. By taking this newfound knowledge, I can expose girls in my program with insight about opportunities around the world. As they take part in these opportunities, they will eventually be able to tap into their unknown potential. Being a role model to these girls has always been a dream of mine and I hope they will look back and do the same as well.

How would you encourage someone else thinking of applying for an event with The First Tee?

I would encourage youth to apply to as many events with The First Tee as possible. Having a well-rounded background will help you reach your greatest potential in life. Making new friends around the world is definitely fun, but it’s the people behind these events who carry the resources to help you succeed. All of them are unique in their own way and can possibly be part of your Go-to Team. As you continue to embark on new adventures, they will always be there to assist you along the way. In the end, your newfound network will grow and eventually open doors for you.

Building Leadership Skills and Character

The First Tee junior golf program doesn’t just get kids on the course; we offer youth exciting opportunities for growth. With the help of our corporate partners, we host a series of events to our more advanced teenage participants, allowing them to meet new people, play some golf, achieve greatness, and show off our nine core values in action.

HOW CAN TEENS TAKE THE NEXT STEP?

These opportunities are only available to youth involved in chapters of The First Tee. Most of the events and programs have a selection process that includes an application reviewed by a committee. Parents, if you want your child to participate, please inquire at your chapter.

Not yet involved in The First Tee?

FIND A CHAPTER