Taking on Challenges

Taking on Challenges

Experiences can be some of our greatest teachers, and there are a variety of learning opportunities ahead for parents and students alike. While some will be fun and exciting, others may be challenging or difficult to navigate. Without practice or understanding, some of these new experiences are likely to leave students feeling overwhelmed and stressed. However, if you can help your student choose to see every experience as one that can build character, they’ll always come out better equipped for whatever comes next.

We believe in developing experiences that are just as fun as they are meaningful. As a result, our students are empowered by new challenges which result in continuous personal growth and essential character development.

Going back to school is the perfect opportunity to practice growing through challenges. To help parents and students navigate their back-to-school transition, we’ve developed a few tips to help them get ready.

  • Use STAR
    • S stands for STOP and take a deep breath.
    • T stands for THINK of all your choices.
    • A stands for ANTICIPATE what could happen (good or bad) as a result of your choice.
    • R stands for RESPOND by selecting the best choice for what to do.
  • Identify Challenges and Support
    • Ask your child to identify challenges for specific subjects and social interaction
    • Work with them to create a list of people they can lean on for support

Each of these steps can plant seeds of mindfulness as students go through everyday life. Taken directly from our First Tee programs, where we prepare kids to face new experiences by helping them to identify their support team, reflect on their opportunities, and strengthen what they bring to everything they do. We define strength of character as the self-confidence to show up to the challenge, the resilience to keep going when you fail, and the inner strength to do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing to do. It’s what will allow your child to walk away from failure determined, not defeated.

With our over 20 years of experience, we’ll continue developing experiences that build character to empower kids and teens through a lifetime of new challenges and continuous personal growth. This way your kids will never face a challenge they can’t go through or grow through. To learn more about getting your child involved with First Tee, you can find a chapter near you today!

The Impact Of Having A Good Mentor

Having someone that you can look up to and go to for support is one the most important things a kid can have. Mentors give youth (and even adults) the confidence they need to confront challenges and come up with their own solutions. They provide a safe place for kids and teens to be themselves and have fun, while also learning valuable life skills.  

A great mentor has many traits— they can be a role model, cheerleader, policy enforcer, advocate, and friend to the students they work with. First Tee mentors have a sincere desire to be involved with their students, and treat them with respect. They practice active listening skills and empathy, while also seeking solutions and opportunities for those they work with. 

We celebrate each of our coaches, and recognize them for the unique role they play in young lives. In fact, research shows that First Tee participants think of their coaches as more than just teachers and counselors, but real mentors who have made a positive difference in their lives. 

Here are four ways a mentor impacts their mentees that were inspired and created by what our junior golfers have to say about their coaches:

1. Mentors show that you can never stop learning

They are always growing and showcasing that to their mentees who can feel inspired by how they adapt to life’s challenges.

“I constantly heard that sport emulates life, and life emulates sports. I didn’t understand this concept until I started the First Tee program. Through this sport, I learned accountability and responsibility for my actions and how to respond to adversity.  These lessons have affected my thinking about the impact I have on those around me and how important it is for me to strive to be my best self.”  – Quincy Crawford, participant, 2021 Scholar

2. Mentors help inspire students to be game-changers

Not just for themselves, but in their everyday lives and especially with their peers.

“Having an amazing mentor through the First Tee who I have developed a strong relationship with has inspired me to help others find mentors that can help them through their education and career.”Remi Shendell, participant, First Tee Scholar

3. Mentors teach the importance of active listening

Not only do they offer support, but they show how valuable it can be to listen to someone in both good and bad times.

“Coach Mary Beth McGirr has been a major influence in my life, helping me with golf and with learning critical life skills that will aid me throughout my life. She took me under her wing and has been a shining example for me to follow. Additionally, as a woman, she has been an amazing mentor and example of a strong, confident female for me to look up to and admire. Coach Mary Beth has been one of my biggest fans and encourages me to do my best. She takes time to talk about my golf, life, family and personal struggles. She has been an excellent example of a strong leader and businesswoman who consistently gives back to the game and the community.” –  Alyssa Caraballo, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley

4. Mentors guide students to lead by example

It’s easy to tell someone what to do, but more impactful to give students the tools and examples they need to come to their own solutions.

“Coach Donnie Caldwell, PGA has given me great advice with my golf but more importantly, in my life. He has told me ‘make choices today that you’ll be proud of tomorrow.’ I used to just make choices that seemed the easiest or most convenient. But now I take time to think about those big decisions and how my choices may also affect others. Without him and his advice, I don’t know where I would be with my life, and that’s scary. He has made me a better person and he has shown me how to make the most of my life.” – Braxton Caldwell, First Tee of Pine Mountain

As you can see, the impact of a great mentor is one of our strongest tools in life. Our mentors work to guarantee students that there is someone who cares about them and who will assure them they are not alone in dealing with challenges. Offered at more than 1,200 locations, our program was developed by experts in the field of positive youth development and is delivered by trained coaches, or as our participants say— mentors! 

Check with your local chapter about how you can become a mentor to a junior golfer in your community.

6 Ways To Show Up For Others

We believe character is learned, cultivated, and shaped by our experiences. At First Tee,  we focus on taking the valuable lessons learned on the course, and applying them to everyday lives at school, at home, and in our communities. We believe that part of being a good leader and becoming a game-changer involves showing up for others whenever possible. Here are six ways that you can encourage your child to show up and help others: 

At Home

  • Encourage them to help with household chores. By taking on important tasks around the house, they can help  maintain a clean space for themselves while alleviating stress on the whole family. Handling household chores develops a sense of personal responsibility, time management, and can build leadership skills.
  • Have them dedicate time to helping their younger siblings with homework. By spending time teaching their siblings, they can strengthen their relationships with each other, and exceed in their classes. Teaching others often builds intelligence and increases confidence.

In The Community

  • Encourage your child to help individuals in the community. By helping vulnerable members of the community, your child can make a real difference in their lives. Additionally, helping others will help teach your child compassion and empathy, two qualities of good leaders.
  • Sign them up to volunteer for a local nonprofit with ties to the community or neighborhood. Volunteering is typically a social activity, which will help build connections with other locals that are likely to share similar interests and values. Volunteering locally will also provide a sense of personal satisfaction, and will make your child  feel more connected to their community.

At School 

  • Suggest tutoring a struggling classmate. Teaching others is oftentimes the best way to understand a topic yourself. By tutoring others, your child will have the opportunity to show compassion and build relationships, while also helping them to better understand the material and become more self confident.
  • Encourage your child to befriend anyone who may be new to the community or struggling socially. By befriending classmates who are having trouble making friends, your child can empower them and help build their confidence. This simple act of kindness can play a major role in making other students feel included and more engaged at school. 
These six suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways you can teach your child to show up for others. Our coaches and staff at First Tee encourage you to practice some of these suggestions, and come up with your own. We guide kids and teens to strengthen what’s inside  and put it into action. If you are interested in getting your child involved with First Tee, you can learn more and sign up today! 

Quick 9: Denise W


Denise W, First Tee – San Francisco 

1. Why is mentorship important?

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed, especially since we now live in an extremely fast-paced world where expectations for us are very high, so having a mentor to guide us through our development process is definitely reassuring.

2. What makes someone a good mentor?

Listening and being able to communicate effectively are qualities that make someone a good mentor. With such qualities, a mentor will be able to offer constructive feedback which will aid in a mentee’s future development.

3. Who has been an impactful mentor to you?

My mom has definitely been the most impactful mentor for me.

4. What have you learned from her/him?

From my mom, I learned that no matter what the circumstances are, hard work pays off. My mom immigrated to the U.S. in hopes to find better future prospects for the family and despite not knowing any English, she still continued to work hard in the U.S. to achieve her goals. In the end, all of her hard work and efforts paid off because she was able to provide the basic necessities for our family and grant my siblings and I access to a higher education.

5. How did/does your mentor help encourage you?

My mom always tells me, “Don’t be afraid of failure. Just go for it!” These are words that I will always remember because they encourage me to try new things, even if I don’t necessarily succeed. It’s a way of telling me that failure is a learning experience and if I fail, I can keep trying.

6. Have you grown as a result of your mentor?

Yes, I have grown as a result of my mom. Her guidance has helped me become more disciplined and more open to new experiences and opportunities. Without her, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.

7. What would it mean to you to become a mentor? Or Do you serve as a mentor at your chapter or any other capacity?

For me, being a mentor is very meaningful and fulfilling because not only am I able to help others, I am also able to develop myself further as a leader.

8. Do you have any advice on how to choose the best mentor in your life?

Find someone who cares about you and is willing to take the time out of their busy day to listen to your needs and help you.

9. What has First Tee taught you about mentorship?

First Tee has taught me that both the mentor and mentee are learners. Both rely on each other as a resource for new perspectives and knowledge. It’s not a one way relationship where only the mentor is helping the mentee.

Quick 9: Ricky L.


Ricky L., First Tee – Tri Valley

1. Why is mentorship important?

Mentorship is important because it allows a chain of knowledge and wisdom from years of experience from mentors to be passed down to mentees, unlocking their potential. Mentorship gives underprivileged students guidance to take control of their own life.

2. What makes someone a good mentor?

A great mentor is someone who has as much common ground with the mentee as possible, such as similar circumstances, college, passions, and career trajectory. More importantly, a great mentor actively listens to the mentee, providing insightful feedback, advice, or opportunities in return.

3. Who has been an impactful mentor to you?

The mentor I have been paired with from the First Tee Scholarship, Jim Smith from Morgan Stanley, has been an amazing mentor, a key guide through all my academic, career, and spiritual difficulties.

4. What have you learned from her/him?

Through our monthly discussions together over the past year, Mr. Smith has given me an abundance of wisdom from his years of experience in becoming a Senior Wealth Portfolio Manager. Also, his advice has helped me get past my choice paralysis in deciding career pathways and majors in college.

5. How did/does your mentor help encourage you?

When I hear about Mr. Smith’s stories of his journey in finding, developing, and maintaining both a loyal client basis and talented team through ups and downs, I am inspired. Additionally, Mr. Smith provides so many life tools, advice, and books/video recommendations to help me stay on a healthy path and achieve career goals.

6. Have you grown as a result of your mentor?

Because of Mr. Smith, I have learned to prioritize my different goals and face my reality with a clear mind. Although remaining open to life, I truly want to serve the world, my community, and my family while also pursuing my passions in computer science, finance, and fitness.

7. What would it mean to you to become a mentor? Or Do you serve as a mentor at your chapter or any other capacity?

Being a mentor to someone is a true honor to me because I can impact someone’s life so personally. I am in Harvard’s Chinese Student Association, and as a sophomore, I am a mentor to freshmen paired with me. Although it can be worrying wondering if you are providing value to your mentees, remember that simply listening and sharing your experience can help them out.

8. Do you have any advice on how to choose the best mentor in your life?

Be open to all mentors, even if they may not align with you in certain aspects such as passions, hobbies, career path, or academic major. Hearing a different perspective may change your mind and open new pathways that you may have not considered. Listen to what your mentor truly has to say and keep asking questions.

9. What has First Tee taught you about mentorship?

First Tee has taught me that mentorship comes from a genuine care to better the world and your community, and that most often, mentees become mentors to future generations. Mentorship keeps the spirit of the First Tee alive as older students come back to volunteer their time to help their chapters.

Looking Back on the First Tee Leadership Summit

This August, we held our first ever First Tee Leadership Summit in the unforgettable backdrop of West Creek Ranch in Montana. This event took place for two weeks, bringing together 20 teens each week from across the country to develop leadership skills through dynamic outdoor and team-building activities. Through collaborative workshops, First Tee’s core competencies of building character, self-confidence and resilience played a huge part of the experience, to explore the concepts of relationship building, positive risk taking, and character evaluation. We recently caught up with participant Benjamin Parris from First Tee – Denver to hear how this year’s event impacted him.

Benjamin Parris, First Tee – Denver

In Denver, I often hear the amazing experiences fellow participants have when they return from First Tee national events. Until the first week of August 2021, I had never experienced one for myself and I was not quite sure what to expect when I was selected for The First Tee Leadership Summit in Partnership with the PGA TOUR Superstore at Mr. Arthur M. Blank’s West Creek Ranch in Montana. As soon as I arrived at the airport, I knew it would be a special week as I was immediately greeted by fellow participants and alumni chaperones. When we arrived at West Creek, even more participants were eager to greet us and introduce themselves. I knew I had formed relationships almost immediately, and those only got better as the week went on. At the summit, we got to participate in activities such as horseback riding, archery, white water rafting, and other spectacular outdoor experiences. Also, during our days, we had the opportunities to listen to guest speakers like Dick Sullivan (CEO of the PGA TOUR Superstore), Ralph Stokes (the PGA TOUR Superstore’s Director of Partnership Marketing and former University of Alabama running back), Joe Shepard (a PGA TOUR Superstore Regional Manager), Stacie Monks (a PGA TOUR Superstore District Manager), and our keynote speaker Michael Vick (former NFL quarterback). We learned lessons in values, teamwork, skill sets, representation, and more. Each day at the summit had a different theme. Our themes were: “relationships are the foundation for leadership,” “positive risk taking,” and “my character is me.” While our speakers were able to give us insightful words and stories on these themes, we learned just as much from our outdoor experiences as we did from our speakers. On Tuesday, we focused on relationships and how trust is the foundation of every successful relationship. After hearing from Dick Sullivan and Michael Vick, six participants, including myself, departed for the ropes course while everyone else elected to horseback ride. When we arrived, we immediately had to build a relationship as we picked partners to ascend on a partner climb up a 30-foot wooden ladder. My partner Sam Gibbs from the First Tee of Fort Worth deserves a quick shoutout for putting her trust in me all week from the second we became partners at the ropes course. On Wednesday, we worked on taking positive risks. My first risk of the day was waking up at 6:30 after a late night to go on a sunrise hike. Let me tell you, the views in Montana were spectacular, it was very much worth the risk of not sleeping in. Later that day I took another risk by going on a 3-hour horseback excursion, by far the longest I had ever been near another animal, besides my dog at home. My biggest takeaway from learning about positive risks were to approach people who think differently than you so you can challenge your own thinking and to seek out your own mentorships. On Thursday, our final full day at the summit, we did a lot of self-reflection while thinking about how to own our characters. Stacie Monks began the day after another gorgeous sunrise hike. She posed the following question to all the participants. “What type of leader do you want to be?” She went onto discuss how to create a culture when you are leading others and how to empower them. Later that morning we had perhaps the hardest task of the entire summit, but also to me the most impactful. We were asked to complete this phrase. “This is what I believe about myself as a leader…” This wasn’t a simple sentence to complete, and to really answer the question, it required more than just a few sentences. To complete the thought, I had to reflect upon all the things I had been through that week at West Creek. I had to think about climbing with a partner, taking leaps of faith, the inspiration I had received from our speakers and workshops, and what I had learned from all the people around me. Later that evening, we sat around the fire pit as we listened and shared all 18 of us has discovered about ourselves as leaders. My favorite part of the leadership summit was the comradery all of the participants formed. I got the opportunity to make 17 new friends, who over the course of the week felt like family. I know that I’ll be keeping in touch with them for years and years to come and can’t wait until I can see them again. For me, the week made me feel like a true member of the greater First Tee family. I had never met a fellow participant from outside of Colorado, but now I feel like I’m connected to the First Tee everywhere I go. I can’t wait to stay involved with the program as I go to college and beyond. I want to thank the First Tee, PGA TOUR Superstore and West Creek Ranch staff one final time for giving me what was truly a life changing experience. The programming was phenomenal, and the experiences were irreplicable. I came back home truly knowing what type of leader I am and how I can continue to grow as a leader. I can’t wait to apply what I learned in Montana to our local programs in Denver as well as other extracurriculars I participate in. I feel honored that I was a part of the inaugural summit.

First Tee – Clearwater Summer Programs Host Close to 200 Youth!

This summer proved to be a very busy one with 178 children attending our 7-week First Tee Summer Camp at the Driving Range! Between 20 and 30 attended each week, focusing on life skills and learning each area of golf: putting, chipping, pitching and full swing. Also this summer, 16 of our more advanced golfers participated in PGA Jr. League. This group practiced at the Driving Range on Thursdays, then spent Friday evenings playing in 9-hole competitions at 5 different golf courses around Pinellas County!      

First Tee Scholars – Class of 2021

In 2021, twelve high school graduates have been selected to the First Tee College Scholarship Program based on academic performance, length and involvement in First Tee programs, financial need and commitment to volunteerism. This class of scholars includes aspiring engineers, accountants, teachers and environmental activists, all of whom will be attending stand out colleges and universities, including Dartmouth University, University of Pennsylvania, Boston College, University of Indiana and other top institutions across the country. The Scholars also represent diverse backgrounds from communities across the First Tee network. The class is comprised of eight females and four males. The Scholars’ average GPA is 4.19 on a 4.0 scale and hold an average of 1,422 out of 1,600 on SAT and 31 out of 36 on ACT. Five of the Scholars will play on their college’s golf team. First Tee College Scholarship Program supports selected alumni throughout their college career in an effort to further their life skill development and mentorship. The need and merit-based program provides scholarships up to $5,000 per year, renewable for up to four years of college admission. The program also provides professional development workshops, access to internships and full-time employment placement post-graduation. One of the key factors of the program is pairing Scholars with a dedicated adult mentor who will help encourage and guide them throughout the four years.

Meet the Scholars

Claire Alford, First Tee — Central Coast Santa Clara University American Mathematics Champion, AP Scholar with Distinction and American Indian/Hispanic National Merit Scholar are just a few of the amazing individual achievements Claire has attained in her life. What is more impressive, though, is Claire’s drive to help her community and create outlets that impact others. Of the many clubs and funds Claire has created, one was Birdies for Baskets. This was an initiative by Claire, in which she played 65 holes of golf in a single day raising more than $1,000 providing food baskets for under privileged families. Graduating with a 4.56 GPA, Claire plans to major in Public Health and Biology with a goal of becoming an anesthesiologist. Marion Caldwell, First Tee — Four Corners Dartmouth University Pursuing a future in teaching, Marion is passionate about passing down the knowledge she has obtained throughout her life to the children within her community. Marion will attend Dartmouth University where she will major in both English and History. Throughout high school, Marion achieved numerous academic honors such as national honor society and earning a cumulative 4.39 GPA. When asked who her dream golf foursome is, Caldwell said a close friend, someone to teach and someone to learn from. Marion’s enthusiasm for both teaching and learning aligns perfectly with the goals and values of First Tee. She is a 10-year participant at First Tee — Four Corners and is the first participant to achieve ACE certification, the highest designation in the First Tee program.  Natalie Cao, First Tee — Greater Houston University of Pennsylvania  Earning a cumulative 4.37 GPA, Natalie strives for greatness in both the classroom and on the course. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Natalie will play on the women’s golf team and will major in economics. She has used her passion for economics to become a financial advisor to help her community, working as the sole junior cashier and assistant treasurer for a bi-monthly book sale, raising more than $12,000 each year for her library. An eight-year participant at First Tee — Greater Houston, Natalie has also been a First Tee Junior Mentor since 2015 making a monumental impact on many through both the game of golf, and her desire to help others. On her goal of becoming a financial advisory, Natalie thinks it’s very similar to mentoring kids at First Tee as she’ll give counsel to those who seek her assistance and knowledge, focusing on financial goals instead of golf goals. Molly Castle, First Tee — Tennessee University of Tennessee Knoxville As a First Tee — Tennessee participant for seven years, Molly has achieved ACE certification, the highest designation in the First Tee program, and used that experience and her love of golf for helping others within her community. She is an active volunteer for Second Harvest Food Bank and the Tennessee School for the Blind, where she assists those who are visually impaired learn the game of golf. Molly is a triplet and while her siblings have decided to continue their golf careers in college, Molly has chosen to focus on her passion to study agriculture and her drive for continued academic success. Malisone Chanthapanya, First Tee — Forth Worth Texas Wesleyan University A 12-year participant at First Tee — Fort Worth, Malisone is the youngest participant to ever achieve ACE Certification in the chapter’s history. She serves on the Chapter Junior Advisory Committee and will play in the 2021 First Tee National Championship. With a cumulative 4.0 GPA combined with her success on the course, Malison plans to continue her golf career at Texas Wesleyan University while double majoring in computer science and accounting. Quincy Crawford, First Tee — Greater Washington D.C. University of Cincinnati Being a part of the First Tee — Greater Washington D.C. for a decade, Quincy has been able to make an impact in his community using both his love for golf, and his passion to help others. Quincy has plans to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, but the impressive academic achievements do not stop there. Fluent in four languages – English, French, Italian, Russian – Quincy earned a cumulative 3.98 GPA while being on the honor roll all four years throughout high school. He was named captain of his high school golf team and plays bass in his school’s advanced orchestra. The First Tee Scholarship Program will empower him as he pursues his goal of using his Aerospace Engineering degree to create fuel-efficient aircrafts, lessoning the overall carbon footprint and possibly slow the rate of climate change. Rebecca Jones, First Tee — Indiana Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology With goals of one day working on environmentally friendly engineering projects, Rebecca will be studying environmental engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Holding a cumulative GPA of 3.39, the classroom is not the only place Rebecca exceled, as she was a three-sport athlete (Basketball, Golf, Track) in high school earning all-conference accolades in each. Being a member of the First Tee — Indiana for six years and achieving multiple medals as a competitor, Rebecca has been able to use golf as both an outlet to give back and succeed individually. Not only thriving in the classroom and athletic fields, she is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and a five-year president of the Orchestra Council. Rebecca is most excited about using her degree to earn a career focusing on land remediation and implementing new systems to reduce pollution, ultimately striving to make the area she grew up in a cleaner and greener place that will benefit the entire community. Josh Lendach, First Tee — Triangle University of Cincinnati Through both his hard work in the classroom and on the golf course, Josh has earned the privilege to play golf at the University of Cincinnati. Josh has been a part of the First Tee — Triangle for 13 years and continues to use golf as an outlet to help others. He’s been a junior coach and mentor for the younger First Tee participants, raises money at an annual charity golf event benefiting the Nicklaus Children’s Foundation, and when schools closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, he founded Golf Gives Back with his fellow high school golf teammates to collect food for those in need. Hoping his passions for golf and environmental/atmospheric sciences collide, Josh wants to study how different environmental and atmospheric conditions could threaten the sustainability of golf course maintenance for future generations. Meghna Mazumdar, First Tee — Connecticut Boston College Scoring a 1430 on her SATs while achieving a 4.12 cumulative GPA, Meghna will study Business Economics at Boston College in the fall. Her passion for investing in the stock market started at a young age which was featured on the Today Show when she was 13. Since 2011, her investment portfolio performance has consistently beat the S&P 500 index and she donates part of her investment gains to various charities and a First Tee — Connecticut Scholarship. Her love for investing and golf collided in 2016 when she was selected as winner of the Wells Fargo Succeeding Together contest, earning her the opportunity to play with PGA TOUR player Rory McIlroy in Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am. Meghna is a 13-year participant at First Tee — Connecticut and her love of the game led her to be the founder of her high school’s first girl’s golf team. She was also recently elected as one of eight people from across the nation to serve on the First Tee’s Participant Advisory Council. Benjamin Nganga, First Tee — Tennessee University of Indiana Benjamin’s excellent drive to succeed in the classroom has achieved him a 4.46 cumulative GPA earning him the prestigious Fry Scholarship to attend the University of Indiana Kelly Business School. Benjamin’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Kenya and could not be prouder of Benjamin becoming the first person in their family to attend college, with sights on a double major in Finance and Computer Science. Benjamin’s hard work was not limited to the classroom, as the seven-year First Tee — Tennessee participant was his high school golf team’s captain and in 2019 was named first team All-Metro. One of his future passions is to develop a non-profit that helps with the expenses of youth sports. Kaleb Palm, First Tee — Central Florida Florida Atlantic University Kaleb is a six-year participant at First Tee — Central Florida whose passion and drive has helped him earn selection into many of First Tee’s national mentoring and empowerment events.  Kaleb has earned a cumulative 4.69 GPA and PGA TOUR Champions player, Skip Kendall, says that “Kaleb has always been very positive and never lets adversity get in his way.” The son of a pastor, Kaleb uses what any adverse experience has taught him to help in many community outreach programs, such as helping the local food pantry in feeding less fortunate families. Borina Sutikto, First Tee — Silicon Valley Santa Clara University With plans already in place to study Accounting & Information Systems while playing golf at Santa Clara University, Borina is passionate about the game both on and off the course. Earning both Junior Golf Association of Northern California Player of the Year honors along with the Girls Low Scoring Average Champion, Borina’s golf skill and love for the game is second to none. The trait that separates her from the pack is her passion to grow the game by helping others. She is a member of the Women’s Nine Hole Golf Association, an organization that helps promote the game of golf and inspire more women to play it. Having earned a 4.25 GPA, the nine-year participant at First Tee — Silicon Valley gives back to the younger participants as a junior coach and mentor.
First Tee College Scholarship Program is made possible by donors and corporate partners who stand behind the program and First Tee’s mission, including Astros Golf Foundation, Peter A. Bonanni Scholarship Fund, Chevron Corporation, A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, Timothy W. Finchem Scholarship Fund, Paul and Ruth Flowers, Morrell Studios, Charles Schwab, TruGreen, Edward and Lisa Vaughan and Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund.

Valspar Championship provides an amazing experience as always!

We love to support those who support us, and boy does Valspar Championship support us! As in years past, our First Tee – Clearwater participants were able to go inside the ropes on Thursday afternoon of the tournament as Standard Bearers! This annual experience provides them an up close view of a PGA Tour event, and all the Pros take time to talk to them and sign autographs. Our participants look forward to this event every year! Our volunteers also came out in waves to help staff the Michelob ULTRA Club in-between the 9th green and 10th tee box all four days of the tournament! Serving food and beer throughout the week, volunteers earn a percentage of sales plus tips, all to be donated back to the Foundation’s two educational programs: the Chi Chi Academy and First Tee – Clearwater! Congrats to the Valspar Championship team and Copperhead Charities for hosting such an amazing tournament! We were so happy to be back this year! Thank you to all of our volunteers for working so hard all week! Special shout out to Bimbo Bakeries USA and Ultimate Staffing for providing groups of volunteers! Visit our FACEBOOK page to see more pictures of our Standard Bearers!  

4 Steps to Developing A Healthy Mindset

What we think, influences our behaviors and emotions every day. Just as you exercise your swing before hitting the ball, it’s important to practice things that can lead to a healthy mindset. Our minds are valuable tools, and maintaining a healthy headspace on and off the golf course can improve confidence and drive. First Tee guides kids to develop stronger social and emotional wellness skills through active learning experiences. These lessons can be used by youth and adults to develop and maintain healthy mindsets at home, school, and in the community. Here are four steps to start developing a healthy mindset.

1. Have a positive attitude.

By focusing on gratitude and practicing positive-self talk, you might be surprised by how much better it makes you feel. Everyday look for new ways to nurture your positive attitude through eating healthy, staying active, and being honest.

2. Give your best effort.

Parents and mentors can encourage kids to give their best effort as often as possible, and keeping yourself accountable is the easiest way to lead by example. Giving your best effort allows you to realize what you are truly capable of, and become more confident in your skills. 

3. Give back.

Giving back to your community, or causes that you care about is another great way to maintain a healthy mentality. Volunteering can help your family connect with others who hold similar values and beliefs. Even activities as simple as tutoring someone on the weekend, or pulling a neighbors weeds can have a tremendous effect on the community you live in.

4. Take ownership.  

Helping kids realize they have control over the outcomes of the challenges they face, can help build confidence and reduce anxiety. Reducing anxiety and practicing problem-solving capabilities at a young age can have a huge effect on how their mindset develops through the rest of their lives. First Tee guides kids to strengthen what’s inside them and put it into action. It’s a priority for us to guide kids to care for their social and emotional wellness so when they step up to the next shot, math test, or presentation they have the strength to move forward, aim further, and finish stronger than the last time. Click here to find a First Tee chapter near you!

Quick 9: Victor Caliguri

Victor Caliguri, First Tee – Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky

1. What does “showing up to others” mean to you?

Showing up to others means being the bigger person. Being the bigger person in any situation you face. You face many hardships in life and you have to be the bigger person to overcome those conflicts. Showing up to others is a way of showing maturity and proving to people that you are capable of doing whatever task you take on.

2. How do you show up for your friends?

I show up for my friends by trying to be the smarter person. Making the right decisions and helping them go down the right path. My friends can also help me keep going down the right path if I start to make wrong decisions. No matter what the circumstance is, I will always be there for them.

3. How do you show up for your family?

I show up for my family by trying to be supportive. Being supportive in a family is everything because we all need each other. A family is everyone working together to be the best people they can be and loving each other as you do it. I show up by listening to them and trying to help them with anything they need.

4. How do you show up for your community?

I love to volunteer for my community. Helping the needy is always a blessing and I really enjoy it. Seeing the smile you put on peoples faces always makes my day. Showing up for your community isn’t just helping people. You can help the environment by picking up others trash and trying to make the world we live in a clean place.

5. How do you feel after helping others?

I love helping others. I always feel accomplished as if I did what I wanted to do. I feel happy that I was able to make someone’s day easier. When they show their appreciation for you after you help them it feels even better. 

6. How do you mentally prepare to show up for your role?

I tell myself that I can do whatever I am about to do and go into everything confident. Having a bad mentality about something is never a good start. Being confident in myself makes me know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to no matter what the role is.

7. What impact has it made on your life when someone has been there for you?

Having someone to turn to when times are tough is crucial for me. I always love when my friends take time out of their days to listen to me and what I have going on. It has made me realize that when I take my time to listen to their problems it definitely makes them happier because it sure does when they do it. 

8. What does it feel like when someone is there for you?

It makes me feel loved and welcomed. Having someone always there is a great gift and I’m so grateful for that. I try to be that person that anyone can turn to because I will always take time out of my day to help people because that’s what makes me happy.

9. What have you learned through First Tee about showing up for others?

I learned that showing up for others can teach others very valuable lessons. Being the bigger person can lead those people around you to get out of their shell and show up for others. Don’t be afraid to take action because when you do that it will help everyone with you be more confident and you will all learn from it. 

Coach Megan Parayno

Megan Parayno, a Recognized First Tee Coach, began her First Tee career in 2014. For the past 7 years she’s been working to inspire and empower kids and teens, first as a lead coach for First Tee — Monterey County and now as the Program Director for First Tee — Fresno. In her free time, Megan follows her passion of being a self-proclaimed “sneakerhead and reseller” and is ready to be able to return to her weekly bowling leagues once it’s safe to do so. Coach Megan grew up in Fresno, CA and attended Cal State University Monterey Bay on a golf scholarship, majoring with a B.S. in Kinesiology. After graduating in 2016, she moved back to Fresno to take on the role of Program Director.  “It was a perfect opportunity to give back to the community that gave so much to me when I was growing up.” Since returning to Fresno, Megan has earned a Master’s in Sports Administration from Fresno Pacific University. “My favorite part of being a coach is building relationships.  Being able to see them grow up and watch them mature and become a mentor to younger kids is why I love coaching. On a personal note, I was able to witness my sister, Lauren, play the PURE Insurance Championship, be her chaperone, and watch how her game has developed over the years.” Coach Megan knows the importance of showing up for others and giving back to her family, friends, community and participants. “I had a First Tee parent come to me and she mentioned that her daughter was looking to speak with someone who related to her. Her daughter was struggling with finding herself.  All it took was a couple hours hitting golf balls on the range to show her that First Tee is a safe place for her to talk.  I had the ability and the resources to relate to her and understand what she is going through and took that time to “show up” for her. Coach Megan is giving her participants opportunities to show up in their community and learn the importance and impact of giving back.