We are all about life lessons and coachable moments at The First Tee. This weekend the kids on the tee line had a contest to see how many out of 10 they could get on a target green. As I was walking the line listening to scores like 1, 0, 3, 0, 1, 9, 1 wait 9? Can you show me? After a few swings it was clear that the 9 was not his score. He knew that I knew so I moved on down the line. At the end of the day as he was cleaning his clubs, not looking so happy, when his mom came up to him and said, "if you work hard enough you can earn 9!" He agreed and ate a snack. Way to go mom!
It was 48*, no sun and windy at Pecan Valley golf course. The 8 year olds were teeing it up in a US Kids golf tournament. PJ was from The First Tee of Austin, Mathew Leonard and Brian Garrett from The First Tee of Greater San Antonio. All proudly displaying their The First Tee bag tags. On hole #5 Brian hit his tee shot into the trees to the right. PJ and Mathew were down the left side of the fairway far from Brian. All alone in the woods, Brian accidentally moved his ball and proceeded to replace it and continued on. No one in the group saw him move his ball and as they were recording scores on the next tee box, PJ was confirming Brian’s score as a 5. Brian corrected him by saying he had a 6 because of the stroke penalty. On the scorecard, PJ won with a brilliant 37 and Brian took second with a respectable 46. The real winner here is Brian for knowing the rule and then calling the penalty on himself when no one else saw it.
Way to go Brian!
It was our first summer camp of the "New Building" era. 9 kids showed up for the golf camp. One was extremely shy, one quite negative, one athletic young man that could not hit a golf ball to save his life. By the end of the week the shy kid was a leader, the negative attitude turned into I can attitude, the young man who could not make contact with a ball decided to try out for his golf team. I even had a kid call me and admit to cheating and apologize. It is a successful day when you can help someone improve there life. I am truly blessed to see it so often.
Having spent a month working with military kids, I have a new appreciation for our soldiers. The kids are very respectful and full of energy. They are ready to go and work hard to achieve there goals. One young man has had behavior issues and would not follow instructions and was disruptive. Through The First Tee program I have seen him really begin to focus and be more respectful. I have received tremendous support from the base personnel and from numerous volunteers. It truly is a community effort.
We just finished another round of testing and another year. On the last day of testing there were 3 kids we recruited from one of our Outreach clinics. These children had never seen a real golf course, played the game or knew anything about golf. They had a difficult home life and were challenged in a lot of ways we cannot imagine. They attended most of the classes and grew more competent and confident each time they came out. When there tests were graded, one made a perfect score and the other two missed one. I was pleased but not nearly as excited as they were! One of them lifted both hands in the air and exclaiming "I did it!". The other 2 had huge smiles and were more reserved in there excitement. As I watched them meet there mom in the parking lot, The hands went up and again and all I heard from a distance was "I made a 100!" Although this may be a small victory to some, to these 3 it was like conquering a new world. They now know that through hard work, it does not matter where you start, it is where you finish that matters. This is one of the best Christmas presents I ever received.
During our second speedgolf qualifier Lauren did not finish her 9 holes. She had to quit after 6 due to exhaustion. On her second try a week later, she approached the first tee and I asked her what her goal was. She said "to finish". Well I am proud to announce she finished all 9 holes in 52 minutes! She walked off the green and exclaimed "I finished!" I can only imagine how much more confident she is today than yesterday. The is nothing Lauren cannot achieve.
As we were preparing the kids to play our Almost Golf Course Micheal was in a mood. A little noisy and rambunctious. Micheal has some behavior challenges and needs special attention. Coach Ben has become a mentor to him. The other kids in his group had teed off and were waiting for Micheal to get ready. Coach Ben, on his own, took out a caddy bib, put Micheal's clubs on his shoulder and told the other kids to head on out, that he was going to be Micheal's caddie and would catch up to them in a bit. I noticed the other kids looking at Coach Ben and noticing what he just did. He sent them a message that acting kindly not only impacts the person receiving the kindness but those around them. I can only imagine the impact Ben had on Micheal but the true impact was on those who witnessed his act of kindness. Thanks Coach Ben!