Director: First Tee teaches kids skill set for problems

Published on Saturday, 21 December 2013 20:53 - Written by By Michael Harrison Special to the Tyler Morning Telegraph

Young people do not automatically act with integrity or demonstrate sportsmanship. The acquisition of values is often a byproduct of a series of complex processes that evolve from children’s experiences.

You may not know that one in four students drop out of public high school or one in three children are overweight or obese. These are major challenges facing young people in our community. The First Tee of Greater Tyler is part of the solution.

Our programs are centered on Nine Core Values: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment. Our programs place emphasis on Nine Healthy Habits: Energy, Play, Safety, Vision, Mind, Family, Friends, School and Community.

The First Tee of Greater Tyler Life Skills Program teaches children a set of skills to allow them to face challenges at home, school and play in a constructive manner.

The goal is for young people to internalize the Nine Core Values which are at the heart of The First Tee of Greater Tyler mission statement: 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 First Tee of Greater Tyler youth learn and improve life skills in a golf setting. Our programs teach young people valuable life skills including problem solving, managing time, controlling one’s emotions, making friends with diverse peers, working well with others and improving relationships with family and community.

It has been an exciting year for The First Tee of Greater Tyler. We are proud to have served almost 10,000 students through The First Tee National School Program held at 12 elementary schools in Tyler and Whitehouse Independent School Districts.

In 2013, The First Tee of Greater Tyler certified 242 students in the Life Skills Program at three locations: Pine Springs Golf Course, Peach Tree Oak Hurst Golf Course & Wee Links Course at The Boys & Girls Club. Our Chapter is on track to receive “Birdie Status” for a second year in a row recognized by The First Tee as an award for network excellence.

With the help of physical educators, life coaches and volunteers, our goal in 2014 is to serve more than 12,000 students at 15 elementary schools and more importantly certify 400 students in The First Tee of Greater Tyler Life Skills Program. The Life Skills Program is affordable: $40 equals seven-week exemplary program with classes held one day per week after school. Annual memberships and scholarships are also available for deserving students.

By making a donation to Shine Your Light, your investment will be stretched even further as all funds received by The First Tee of Greater Tyler through Shine Your Light will receive a matching grant made possible by The First Tee and Legacy Partner Johnson & Johnson. Help us take advantage of these matching funds so that young people in this community can realize their greatest potential. For more information on programs or learn how to become a volunteer, . We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas — enjoy the spirit of the season!!


Michael Harrison is executive director of First Tee of Greater Tyler.