If you have played golf for any length of time, chances are the game has provided you with something that helped mold you into the person you are today. The greatest compliment that we can pay our game is to pass those lessons learned to the next generation.
Thanks to The First Tee Treasure Coast, the next generation has a program in place to teach our youth, ages seven through 17 living in St. Lucie and Martin Counties, the values of our great game.
Founded in the summer of 2012, the program has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Hobe Sound and Indiantown and the East Stuart Community Center. The First Tee National School Program is being implemented in four Treasure Coast elementary schools funded by the Florida Junior Golf Council license program.
In addition, Hammock Creek Golf Club in Palm City, as well as The Saints Golf Course in Port St. Lucie, have Saturday programs. Recent programs have seen a few hundred kids attend and complete the program.
Using the game of golf as a vehicle, the program teaches The First Tee Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. The mission is to impact 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.
The creation of The First Tee Treasure Coast was made possible by the contributions of the remarkable Hunt family. Alcoa Aluminum was founded in 1888 by Alfred Hunt. In the early 1900s, Roy A. Hunt worked his way from mill clerk to chairman. The Roy A. Hunt Foundation traces its roots back to 1951, when Roy and his wife Rachel established the family foundation in Pittsburgh to support organizations that strive to improve the quality of life.
In 1996, the Foundation set up three special initiatives, one being youth development. Twice a year, three generations of the Hunt family gather from across the country to make grants to worthy non-profit organizations.
Andrew Hunt, a Treasure Coast resident and chairman of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation's Youth Development Initiative, has sponsored several grants to many youth organizations including the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County. An advocate for youth development and an avid golfer himself, he has discovered that golf is a great way to connect with today's youth.
"After an evaluation of junior golf programs, it became clear that The First Tee is a perfect fit for the Treasure Coast," said Mr. Hunt. "The First Tee offers a lot more than learning golf as character building. Core values and healthy habits are essential elements of the program."
In May of 2012, he attended a breakfast meeting at The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach with former President George W. Bush, the Honorary Chairman of The First Tee. At the meeting, Mr. Hunt accepted the invitation to become a Trustee. His commitment accelerated the impact and presence of The First Tee in the Treasure Coast Region.
Mr. Hunt joined The First Tee Treasure Coast Council of Directors and serves as chairman of the chapter.
Charlie D'Agata, a close relative of Mr. Hunt, also joined the council as vice chairman. Mr. D'Agata's main focus is to articulate the mission of The First Tee to major funding and social agencies, institutions, media and local government. He has a long history of service to Treasure Coast non-profit and community organizations, including serving on four of their local boards of directors.
Bringing new trustees to The First Tee is a very important endeavor for "The Campaign for 10 Million Young People" as they seek to raise funds that will expand the reach of the character education and life-skills programs to help young people prepare for success in high school, college and life.
We can all stand to be a little more honest. Integrity in life is one of the world's most important traits. Showing sportsmanship and conducting yourself in a respectful manner will get anyone far in life, as will respecting yourself, your partners, your opponents, the course and traditions. Being confident is a great feeling.
Being responsible for your own actions has sadly become something our world has lost sight of. To truly succeed, one must learn perseverance. A little courtesy goes a long way. Shaking someone's hand, giving credit where it's due has become another lost art.
Finally, learning good judgment to make a decision or form an opinion takes time to master. Starting the process early pays big dividends.
To find out more about The First Tee Treasure Coast use any of the following: (772) 380-6159; PO Box 464, Jensen Beach, FL 34958-0464; 2552 SE Morningside Blvd, Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at email@example.com.