Established by the PGA of America, LPGA, PGA Tour, Masters Tournament and USGA, The First Tee is an initiative designed to improve the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
Nowhere is this mission better exemplified than by The First Tee of Akron. One of the organization’s oldest (established in 1998) and most respected chapters, it earned the ACE Level distinction, which is the highest rating given by the First Tee Network.
Based out of Mud Run Golf Course in Akron, the First Tee of Akron works closely with local youths between the ages of 7 and 18. Through the game of golf, the chapter seeks to instill the First Tee’s Nine Core Values—honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment—and Nine Healthy Habits—energy, play, safety, vision, mind, family, friends, school and community.
“We have created a structured environment where local children can learn valuable life skills while remaining active and having fun,” said Dave Alexander, director of programming for The First Tee of Akron. “Our belief is that the better our kids are at handling social situations, the more opportunities and advantages will come their way down the road.”
The Akron chapter works with approximately 400 kids as part of its certification program. Participants can earn up to four certifications—PLAYer, Par, Birdie and Eagle—based on their level of play, participation and demonstration of The First Tee’s Core Values and Healthy Habits.
In addition, the chapter works with the Akron After School enrichment program. Between 3 and 5 p.m., for eight weeks in the fall and again in the spring, chapter representatives go into four local schools and provide fun golf-related activities for extended-care students as a way to remain engaged with them during the golf offseason.
“We believe that golf is a life sport and offers excellent relationship, social and eventually career opportunities,” said Alexander. “The sooner we can help young Akron golfers form an appreciation for the game, and more importantly, an appreciation and respect for others, the bigger the impact we may be able to have on their lives.”
The First Tee of Akron would like to thank all its sponsors, especially Northern Ohio Golf Charities, Bridgestone, the City of Akron and Acme.
By: Keith Moehring, PR 20/20