Annually, The First Tee home office is able to offer a variety of educational and leadership opportunities for our network of participants. These events often become life-changing experiences as participants further develop an awareness of possibilities that surround them.
Many of these national opportunities have a selection process that includes a multi-part application with national committee review period and minimum baseline requirements such as age and curriculum certification level within The First Tee program.
In 2015, the home office offered twelve national program opportunities plus two additional scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors. This weekend marks the final national event of the year, Auntie Anne’s Leaders & Entrepreneurs Forum in Orlando, Florida where Courtney Jingle and John Rea have spent three days in an interactive environment covering career and community leadership topics and implementation tactics with 48 other participants across the network.
Across the board we have had many opportunities to celebrate successes with our participants on a national level. From the 224 participants that achieved and reported A/B Honor Roll to the 6 teenage participants that were selected to represent the Sandhills through national opportunities and 4 graduates that received recognition through the national scholars program. What a wonderful representation of our youth in the Sandhills we were able to share with the country.
Our ten chapter representatives included, Elizabeth Nguyen (Outstanding Participant Summit, Nature Valley First Tee Open), Caroline Rea (Par – 3 Championship, Life Skills Academy), John Rea (PLAYer Advanced Academy, Auntie Anne’s), Joshua Hirtle (Life Skills Academy), Jared Robinson (Nature Valley First Tee Open), Courtney Jingle (Auntie Anne’s), Bryan D’Ostroph (Scholars Program, Kasserian Ingera Scholarship Recipient), Bobby Capps (Scholars Program, Whitney Family Foundation Scholarship Recipient), Ben Chrystler (Scholars Program), and Alex Nguyen (Scholars Program).
Being one of 175 chapters across the United States we have to pinch ourselves regularly because our participants are truly shining on the national stage. We are so proud of the accomplishments they have made in the classroom, through their goal ladders and with their abilities to carry themselves well while competing on the golf course.
Credit must be given to those that have helped make these opportunities possible. The national sponsors of The First Tee who offset the cost to operate and provide these events; our local coaches, volunteers and staff who always carry the ‘never give up attitude’ and can routinely be found spending a few extra minutes encouraging a participant, reviewing their application or helping them prepare for an upcoming event; and our sponsors here in the Sandhills, they know who they are, who provide us resources and avenues to plan, execute and achieve success on many levels each and every day.
I would encourage you to check in on Courtney and John as they finish up their trip to Auntie Anne’s through our online blog feature which can be found at www.thefirstteesandhills.org/auntieannes to hear about their experiences this weekend off the course!
Soon the 2016 national participant opportunities schedule will be released and a new wave of local participants will be eligible to apply; it’s an exciting cycle and time as we watch these participants enjoy the healthy competition and experience of vying for a spot in these opportunities. In a mere 67 days we will be turning the calendar to next year – let’s let a new wave of fun begin!