The First Tee Core Values Are Applied At Home And School
By REBECCA HOEFFNER
Leroy Sparrow, 8, knows to shake hands and say "nice to meet you" when meeting a new person.
"I learned courtesy and respect," he said, when asked what he's learned from The First Tee nonprofit golf program. "I learned you have to take care of your clubs and do the right thing."
The First Tee is an international organization that uses the game of golf to teach children life skills and values. The local chapter, The First Tee of Greater Tyler began about a year ago. Since then, the chapter has grown to have more than 100 children participating and a partnership with physical education classes in all 17 schools in the Tyler Independent School District.
"This program instills values that prepare students for college and the real world," said Michael Harrison,
executive director. "Golf is a game with inherent values, and it's one you can play until your 80s or 90s."
The First Tee focuses on instilling nine core values from the games and activities they play. The nine core values are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.
The organization has also expanded its focus to include physical and emotional health, said program director Christian
Children who participate in the program work through a workbook after each golf activity that asks what they learned about a core value and how they can apply it at home and school. They take home the workbook and go through it with their parents.
The program also offer incentives for doing well in school, such as taking students who earn A's and B's to professional tournaments.
"There's a lot of PGA support,"
The nonprofit also offers scholarships -- Leroy received a set of golf clubs as part of his scholarship.
"His parents really want him to be involved,"
The organization partnered with Pine Springs Golf Club where the children can practice for $5.
"It gives it value when they pay for it,"
The organization has also partnered with The Boys and Girls Clubs of East Texas and plans are in the works to build a practice course there by the beginning of September.
"Golf is a lifetime sport," Harrison said. "When you learn it as a child, it's much easier to learn those skills."