Lauren Welch, a participant of The First Tee of Nashville, was one of 49 teens chosen to attend the event. She served as The First Tee’s guest blogger from the event–read more about her first-hand account on this exciting opportunity!
The draw was Disney. The draw was pretzels. But what I experienced with 48 other participants from around the country was unimaginable. From the start of the Auntie Anne’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship Forum I was challenged. I was challenged to become a more equipped leader, a free thinker, and a diverse individual. What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? What does it mean to be a leader? These are the types of hard questions I was asked from the time I set foot in Orlando, Fla. After four days in the happiest place on earth, I was able to confidently answer these.
So what did we do? Auntie Anne’s graciously put the selected participants through a condensed version of their franchisee training. In our training sessions, we learned things like what it takes to become a franchisee, marketing tactics, and store setup. We also learned how to twist into pretzel perfection. We learned that it was not what we expected. We learned to be leaders we had to think outside of the box or as Auntie Anne herself put it, “You must be willing to do what others do not feel like doing.”
But, even with the heavy stuff, The First Tee always finds a way to think outside of the box with participant opportunities. On Friday and Saturday evening we had control of the parks. For many of us, including myself, this was our first chance to experience Disney at its fullest. From “It’s A Small World After All” to coming face to face with famous characters, we experienced abounding joy through the eyes of the children we still are deep down.
Words will never be enough to express my gratitude to The First Tee and Auntie Anne’s for this incredible weekend. The knowledge I gained, friendships that were created, and memories that were made will truly last forever.
This exciting, three-day forum introduced junior golfers to interactive sessions covering career development and community leadership from executives and franchise partners of Auntie Anne’s–the world’s largest hand-rolled and freshly-baked soft pretzel chain. They also learned about the franchising business model and what it is like to own and operate an Auntie Anne’s store.