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.

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.

Twenty-Eight Teens Attending First Tee Innovators Forum

San Jose, CA (Oct. 7, 2021) – Twenty-eight participants from First Tee chapters across the country are attending the First Tee Innovators Forum Oct. 8–11 in San Jose, Calif. The forum will empower the First Tee teens to develop a meaningful service project in their communities focusing on raising awareness on issues surrounding education, health and sustainability.

During the Forum, the teens will participate in interactive workshops and small breakout sessions covering a variety of topics including education, sustainability, healthcare advocacy and programming. The participants will have the opportunity to learn from global industry leaders including representatives from First Tee’s Trustee, CapTech, as well as guests from companies including Tesla. The forum will empower the teens to be innovators and game changers in their respective communities, culminating with each of the teen participants developing a community service project that they will be encouraged to take back and implement in their local communities. At the end of the forum, a total of $32,000 will be awarded to eight attending participants to further their educational pursuits.

“Congratulations to our amazing participants on earning a spot in the First Tee Innovators Forum and thank you to First Tee trustee, Doug MacKenzie, for his leadership in developing and sponsoring this event.” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of First Tee. “These outstanding young leaders remind us how bright the future is for them and in the communities they are determined to serve.”

The 28 teens attending the forum were selected based on academic achievement, community service, chapter involvement, leadership, essay responses and letters of recommendation.

First Tee is a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf. 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.

To learn more about First Tee and the Innovators Forum, visit TheFirstTee.org.

Sentry Becomes New Trustee of First Tee Supporting Character-Building Programs for Kids and Teens

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL. and STEVENTS POINT, WI. (October 6, 2021) – First Tee, a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, and Sentry, one of the largest business-focused mutual insurance groups in the United States, have announced a new partnership that will help further First Tee’s mission. As a Trustee of First Tee, Sentry’s investment will support network-wide initiatives that are helping to expand programs, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities, as well as keep kids and teens engaged as they progress through the program and toward higher education. These initiatives include curriculum enhancements, technology innovations, ongoing research, and expanding diversity and inclusion efforts for the growing network of 150 First Tee chapters. “I’m inspired by the work of the First Tee,” said Pete McPartland, Sentry chairman of the board, president, and CEO. “First Tee does much more than teach kids to golf—they learn integrity, honesty, and determination and build confidence—qualities that help them succeed in life. At Sentry, we look forward to becoming engaged in First Tee’s work and helping to develop these impressive young people.” The partnership is kicking off on the heels of First Tee’s annual Trustee Meeting held earlier this week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., home of First Tee Headquarters. The meeting gathers Trustees to hear about First Tee’s impact and strategic plans as well as engage with First Tee participants who have been empowered through the program.
First Tee CEO Greg McLaughlin (left), Sentry CEO Pete McPartland (middle) and PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan (right) join participants from First Tee — North Florida, L to R Jacob Davis, Dominic Clayton, Grace Richards, and Manyi Ngu, at the annual First Tee Trustee Meeting.
“We are thankful for partners like Sentry that provide support across a number of important areas for First Tee,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of First Tee. “Sentry’s investment will have a lasting impact as we open the door to more kids, empowering them to discover their values and build upon their character strengths.” For more than 24 years, First Tee has been helping kids and teens build confidence and instill life skills in programs that are delivered through the game of golf. The First Tee network has grown to 150 chapters, including 1,400 program locations across all 50 states and six international locations. The curriculum, rooted in positive youth development and social and emotional learning objectives, has been delivered to more than 11,000 schools and 1,600 youth serving agencies. Sentry has been involved with golf since 1982 when it built SentryWorld, Wisconsin’s first destination golf facility located at its headquarters in Stevens Point, which will host the U.S. Senior Open Championship in 2023. In 2017, Sentry signed on as title sponsor of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, a winners-only PGA TOUR event held on the Hawaiian island of Maui. As title sponsor, Sentry strives to make a positive, year-round impact in the local community supporting several organizations through the tournament, including First Tee — Hawaii. Earlier this year, Sentry also became the USGA’s official insurance partner to invest more deeply in recreational golf and engage more golfers in communities across America.

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 PUREInsuranceChampionship.com. To learn more about First Tee and see the full field list, visit TheFirstTee.org.

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 www.FirstTee.org.

Quick 9: Denise W

Mentoring

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.

Quick 9: Ricky L.

Mentoring

Ricky L., First Tee – Tri Valley

1. Why is mentorship important?

Mentorship is important because it allows a chain of knowledge and wisdom from years of experience from mentors to be passed down to mentees, unlocking their potential. Mentorship gives underprivileged students guidance to take control of their own life.

2. What makes someone a good mentor?

A great mentor is someone who has as much common ground with the mentee as possible, such as similar circumstances, college, passions, and career trajectory. More importantly, a great mentor actively listens to the mentee, providing insightful feedback, advice, or opportunities in return.

3. Who has been an impactful mentor to you?

The mentor I have been paired with from the First Tee Scholarship, Jim Smith from Morgan Stanley, has been an amazing mentor, a key guide through all my academic, career, and spiritual difficulties.

4. What have you learned from her/him?

Through our monthly discussions together over the past year, Mr. Smith has given me an abundance of wisdom from his years of experience in becoming a Senior Wealth Portfolio Manager. Also, his advice has helped me get past my choice paralysis in deciding career pathways and majors in college.

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

When I hear about Mr. Smith’s stories of his journey in finding, developing, and maintaining both a loyal client basis and talented team through ups and downs, I am inspired. Additionally, Mr. Smith provides so many life tools, advice, and books/video recommendations to help me stay on a healthy path and achieve career goals.

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

Because of Mr. Smith, I have learned to prioritize my different goals and face my reality with a clear mind. Although remaining open to life, I truly want to serve the world, my community, and my family while also pursuing my passions in computer science, finance, and fitness.

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?

Being a mentor to someone is a true honor to me because I can impact someone’s life so personally. I am in Harvard’s Chinese Student Association, and as a sophomore, I am a mentor to freshmen paired with me. Although it can be worrying wondering if you are providing value to your mentees, remember that simply listening and sharing your experience can help them out.

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

Be open to all mentors, even if they may not align with you in certain aspects such as passions, hobbies, career path, or academic major. Hearing a different perspective may change your mind and open new pathways that you may have not considered. Listen to what your mentor truly has to say and keep asking questions.

9. What has First Tee taught you about mentorship?

First Tee has taught me that mentorship comes from a genuine care to better the world and your community, and that most often, mentees become mentors to future generations. Mentorship keeps the spirit of the First Tee alive as older students come back to volunteer their time to help their chapters.

Looking Back on the First Tee Leadership Summit

This August, we held our first ever First Tee Leadership Summit in the unforgettable backdrop of West Creek Ranch in Montana. This event took place for two weeks, bringing together 20 teens each week from across the country to develop leadership skills through dynamic outdoor and team-building activities.

Through collaborative workshops, First Tee’s core competencies of building character, self-confidence and resilience played a huge part of the experience, to explore the concepts of relationship building, positive risk taking, and character evaluation.

We recently caught up with participant Benjamin Parris from First Tee – Denver to hear how this year’s event impacted him.

Benjamin Parris, First Tee – Denver

In Denver, I often hear the amazing experiences fellow participants have when they return from First Tee national events. Until the first week of August 2021, I had never experienced one for myself and I was not quite sure what to expect when I was selected for The First Tee Leadership Summit in Partnership with the PGA TOUR Superstore at Mr. Arthur M. Blank’s West Creek Ranch in Montana.

As soon as I arrived at the airport, I knew it would be a special week as I was immediately greeted by fellow participants and alumni chaperones. When we arrived at West Creek, even more participants were eager to greet us and introduce themselves. I knew I had formed relationships almost immediately, and those only got better as the week went on.

At the summit, we got to participate in activities such as horseback riding, archery, white water rafting, and other spectacular outdoor experiences. Also, during our days, we had the opportunities to listen to guest speakers like Dick Sullivan (CEO of the PGA TOUR Superstore), Ralph Stokes (the PGA TOUR Superstore’s Director of Partnership Marketing and former University of Alabama running back), Joe Shepard (a PGA TOUR Superstore Regional Manager), Stacie Monks (a PGA TOUR Superstore District Manager), and our keynote speaker Michael Vick (former NFL quarterback). We learned lessons in values, teamwork, skill sets, representation, and more.

Each day at the summit had a different theme. Our themes were: “relationships are the foundation for leadership,” “positive risk taking,” and “my character is me.” While our speakers were able to give us insightful words and stories on these themes, we learned just as much from our outdoor experiences as we did from our speakers.

On Tuesday, we focused on relationships and how trust is the foundation of every successful relationship. After hearing from Dick Sullivan and Michael Vick, six participants, including myself, departed for the ropes course while everyone else elected to horseback ride. When we arrived, we immediately had to build a relationship as we picked partners to ascend on a partner climb up a 30-foot wooden ladder. My partner Sam Gibbs from the First Tee of Fort Worth deserves a quick shoutout for putting her trust in me all week from the second we became partners at the ropes course.

On Wednesday, we worked on taking positive risks. My first risk of the day was waking up at 6:30 after a late night to go on a sunrise hike. Let me tell you, the views in Montana were spectacular, it was very much worth the risk of not sleeping in. Later that day I took another risk by going on a 3-hour horseback excursion, by far the longest I had ever been near another animal, besides my dog at home. My biggest takeaway from learning about positive risks were to approach people who think differently than you so you can challenge your own thinking and to seek out your own mentorships.

On Thursday, our final full day at the summit, we did a lot of self-reflection while thinking about how to own our characters. Stacie Monks began the day after another gorgeous sunrise hike. She posed the following question to all the participants. “What type of leader do you want to be?” She went onto discuss how to create a culture when you are leading others and how to empower them. Later that morning we had perhaps the hardest task of the entire summit, but also to me the most impactful. We were asked to complete this phrase. “This is what I believe about myself as a leader…” This wasn’t a simple sentence to complete, and to really answer the question, it required more than just a few sentences. To complete the thought, I had to reflect upon all the things I had been through that week at West Creek. I had to think about climbing with a partner, taking leaps of faith, the inspiration I had received from our speakers and workshops, and what I had learned from all the people around me. Later that evening, we sat around the fire pit as we listened and shared all 18 of us has discovered about ourselves as leaders.

My favorite part of the leadership summit was the comradery all of the participants formed. I got the opportunity to make 17 new friends, who over the course of the week felt like family. I know that I’ll be keeping in touch with them for years and years to come and can’t wait until I can see them again. For me, the week made me feel like a true member of the greater First Tee family. I had never met a fellow participant from outside of Colorado, but now I feel like I’m connected to the First Tee everywhere I go. I can’t wait to stay involved with the program as I go to college and beyond.

I want to thank the First Tee, PGA TOUR Superstore and West Creek Ranch staff one final time for giving me what was truly a life changing experience. The programming was phenomenal, and the experiences were irreplicable. I came back home truly knowing what type of leader I am and how I can continue to grow as a leader. I can’t wait to apply what I learned in Montana to our local programs in Denver as well as other extracurriculars I participate in. I feel honored that I was a part of the inaugural summit.

First Tee and John Deere Host 24 Teens for the Drive Your Future Academy

The national, all-girls’ professional development event is being held in Detroit, September 3-6

Detroit – (Sept. 3) – Twenty-four teens from First Tee chapters across the country are attending the John Deere Drive Your Future Academy this week in Detroit. Held Sept. 3-6, the academic, career and leadership development academy is hosted by First Tee and John Deere. During the event, the girls will explore topics that will help them prepare for the future including volunteerism, teamwork and remaining active in the game of golf. The curriculum will come to life through interactive workshops and team-building activities such as a community service project and golf outing. In addition, the girls will attend the Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio. “John Deere is proud to support the Drive Your Future Academy and congratulates the 24 girls who have earned this opportunity,” said John Watson, John Deere relationship manager of First Tee. “We know this experience will position them to build upon an already strong foundation and be positioned for great things going forward.” The teens were selected for the Drive Your Future Academy through a national application process that scored applicants based on essays, letters of recommendation, and involvement in First Tee and other activities. First Tee is a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf. The John Deere Drive Your Future Academy 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. For more information, visit FirstTee.org.

Citi & Presidents Cup Announce Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge & First Tee Australia

Citi and Presidents Cup Announce the Return of the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge and an Effort to Expand First Tee to Australia

Fans across the globe tasked with collectively driving a golf ball around the world to help bring First Tee, a positive youth development program, to young people in Australia  

 MELBOURNE, Australia and NEW YORK, United States – In celebration of the global impact of the Presidents Cup, tournament officials and Presidents Cup Global Partner Citi today announced the return of the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge with a “Drive to Melbourne.” Once again, Citi is inviting everyone to collectively drive a golf ball 44 million yards – the length it takes to circle the globe – either in-person or virtually. This time, the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge is aimed at supporting the launch of a First Tee chapter, to be managed by the PGA of Australia, at the 2019 Presidents Cup.

Click here to watch Justin Thomas introduce the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge.

Ed Skyler, Global Head of Public Affairs at Citi said, “We are proud to again partner with the Presidents Cup and support the return of the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge and the expansion of First Tee into Australia. We see golf as a platform that allows us to give back, and by supporting First Tee, we hope to provide opportunities to enrich the lives of young people around the world. The challenge also helps unite people around the world in pursuit of a common goal, reminding us in the process that the circumference of the globe is a mere 44 million yards!”

The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge will feature a web-based game, a simulator, and a mobile game, allowing fans from all over the world to play and enjoy an interactive experience, while driving toward the opportunity to expand First Tee programs in Australia. The simulator will be placed in popular locations throughout Australia, and other select locations, to build excitement and increase awareness for the 2019 Presidents Cup, which will return to The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for a third time from 9-15 December, 2019. The full list of Simulator locations is still being determined but fans in Melbourne got a preview this past weekend, at popular Federation Square. The first location in the United States debuts today at Brookfield Place New York. Photos from the activation in Melbourne can be found here for use in editorial coverage of this announcement.

The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge will drive toward a launch of First Tee programs in Australia later this year. Each year, First Tee (www.firsttee.org) provides education programs to young people throughout the United States on golf courses, in schools and at other youth-focused locations. The launch of a First Tee chapter in Australia will mark the organization’s sixth international location, including Canada, Japan, Korea, Morocco and Mexico. First Tee positively impacts the lives of young people through the game of golf by providing education programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values.

“Citi has been an engaged and valued Global Partner of the Presidents Cup. The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge is a fantastic extension of the core values of giving back that makes The Presidents Cup special. We are excited to bring it to life as the buzz and momentum continues to build toward what we believe will be the best Presidents Cup yet at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club this December,” said Matt Kamienski, Executive Director of the Presidents Cup.

After winning his first PGA TOUR event in New Orleans in 2017, Australian Cameron Smith made a significant donation to a local First Tee Chapter in Florida. Along with the donation he wrote a note that read, “I remember being your age, hitting balls, dreaming of being on the world’s biggest stage and practicing making putts to win PGA TOUR tournaments… Without the nine core values, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Using these values each day, I strive to be a great person before a great golfer.”

Smith also recognized Citi for their efforts. “It’s great that Citi is not only launching this initiative to help bring awareness to the Presidents Cup, but First Tee will have a lasting legacy on the youth in Australia, not just as golfers, but to build overall life lessons and opportunities outside of the game.”

“We’re grateful to Presidents Cup, Citi and PGA of Australia for collaborating around the idea of bringing First Tee programs to young people in Australia as a part of 2019 Presidents Cup,” said First Tee President Greg McLaughlin. “While our programs have been in place in the U.S. for more than 22 years, I am pleased we are able to look for ways to strategically expand through relationships like this.”

The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge mobile game will allow participants to take shots on the 18th Hole at Liberty National Golf Club (host of the 2017 Presidents Cup) and the 18th Hole at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club (host of the 2019 Presidents Cup). The online game can be accessed globally by users who go to www.PresidentsCup.com/Citi and Presidents Cup social channels. The game will be available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

Fans in select countries who play the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge will be entered into a once-in-a-lifetime sweepstakes, with one (1) grand prize winner and one (1) first prize winner.

Grand Prize: Trip for two (2) to the 2019 Presidents Cup, which includes the following:

  • Round trip airfare (economy)
  • Five (5) nights’ accommodation (Crowne Plaza)
  • Four (4) days return transfers to The Royal Melbourne Golf Club
  • Four (4) days Captains’ Club tickets to the Presidents Cup (Thursday – Sunday)
  • Presidents Cup spectator function, Thursday evening at Official Hotel Crown
  • Presidents Cup souvenir merchandise

First Prize: A framed 2019 Presidents Cup pin flag signed by Tiger Woods and Ernie Els

Grand Prize entries must be received by 11:59 pm USA ET on August 22, 2019

First prizes – December 15, 2019 by 11:59 pm AUS local time

Citi cardmembers will receive access to a fast pass lane, with Citi-specific signage promoting the benefit, for all simulator stops during the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge. Locations include the Citi Interactive Zone on-site at the tournament.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit PresidentsCup.com.

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About the Presidents Cup

The Presidents Cup is a unique golf event in that there is no purse or prize money.  Players are not paid for their participation, but each competitor allocates an equal portion of the funds generated to charities of his choice.  Since the event’s inception, more than $49.1 million has been raised for charity from event proceeds, as well as contributions made on behalf of the Presidents Cup, including a record charitable donation of $10.7 million from the 2017 event alone.

To purchase tickets to the Presidents Cup or learn more about travel packages, please visit PresidentsCup.com. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thepresidentscup, Twitter and Instagram at @presidentscup and sign up for the Presidents Cup e-newsletter.

Citi and Rolex are the exclusive Global Partners of the Presidents Cup.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com  | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi  | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com  | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi  | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi

About Rolex

An unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise

Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 500 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Through philanthropic programmes and a broad palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports and exploration, and encourages the spirit of enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural environments.

About First Tee

First Tee (www.firsttee.org) is a nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Since its beginning in 1997, First Tee has expanded to reach millions of young people on golf courses, in elementary schools and at other youth-serving locations. Its headquarters are in St. Augustine, Florida, USA, with programs in all 50 United States and select international locations.

About Melbourne – A Golfing Great

There are many sides to Melbourne. It’s serious yet playful, quiet yet dramatic, sport-obsessed yet in love with the creative industries.

Melbourne is a city that is constantly evolving, improving and changing, every day and all year round. The city innovates, is hungry for new ideas and delivers unexpected experiences from its inspired laneways, bars, art spaces, restaurants and boutiques.

Melbourne, and Victoria’s regions including the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas, are also home to Australia’s finest golf courses.

The famed Melbourne Sandbelt is superbly regarded internationally, with eight courses epitomising the golden age of golf architecture. These highly ranked layouts are built on land in the southeast suburbs and are conveniently located within a short distance of each other.

In 2018, Melbourne hosted the PGA TOUR’s World Cup of Golf, with the Royal Melbourne Golf Club proud to welcome the 2019 Presidents Cup for the third time this year. The Australian Open of Golf returns to the city in 2020 and 2022.