Is the Character of Our Kids on Course?

A Report from First Tee & Harris Poll 

Character is what you bring to everything you do. It’s what signifies to the world what’s inside of you. It outlasts genius and talent, yet propels both. It’s what we are admired for and remembered by. It’s what transforms piercing words to inspire you forward rather than tear you down. And it’s what allows you to walk away from failure determined, not defeated. 

Yet a new study between First Tee and Harris polls finds that character is a lost value driven by a lack of regular opportunities to cultivate it.

Parents are concerned about the next generation of character in America.  

How do we fill the character gap? 

In a world where social pressures are always-on, where calm and confidence are hard to access, and where perseverance is a required superpower every day, our kids are growing in new environments that are demanding more from them, and therefore more from us. 

Parents are looking to extracurricular activities to help build their child’s confidence and character with 80% of parents agreeing participation in extracurricular activities is more about development than recreation. The study goes on to show that sports is the number one extracurricular activity kids are involved in.   

Youth sports – especially golf – create opportunities to cultivate well-being and character. 

Parents attest that sports not only boost their children’s physical well-being, but also their social, behavioral, emotional, and academic health. Parents also say sports are effective for improving children’s mental health (95%), creating opportunities to learn life skills and build character (95%), and providing supportive adults to help strengthen their child’s character development (94%). Seventy six percent of parents go further to say that golf, specifically, helps children build character and teaches children important life skills.  

First Tee builds experiences that build character.  

Experiences are our greatest teacher. And we believe in developing the ones that are just as fun as they are meaningful, where kids feel excited to grow, safe to fail, and better equipped for whatever comes their way next. 

Golf is a perfect practice ground for learning skills that go far beyond the fairways. This is especially true when coaches are trained in how to build positive mentoring relationships with kids. Ninety-two percent of parents agree positive coaches of youth sports provide a good source of external mentorship

It’s why we’re intentional about training dedicated and caring coaches to deliver our curriculum which was designed with input from youth development experts using golf as the platform. It’s why we teach concepts like STAR – stop, think, anticipate, respond – to help participants develop resiliency when facing challenging situations. We help kids discover what’s inside of them, guide them to strengthen it, and mentor them to put it into action in everything they do.