Friendships and confidence are only two of the many reasons sports – like golf! – empower girls for life and leadership. Golf is the perfect platform for girls to build character, leadership skills and core values like perseverance, confidence and judgment. The John Deere Drive Your Future Academy is an all-girls event focused on leadership development.
During the week, 24 teenage girls learn the value of remaining active in golf, the positive impact of volunteerism, and the importance of teamwork from influential female leaders and executives. Kendel Abrams, from The First Tee of Greater Baltimore, shares her experience from the inaugural event.
What were some of the highlights and biggest takeaways from the event?
Some of my highlights included getting to play East Lake Golf Club for the first time. It is such an incredible layout. I cannot thank the staff at East Lake enough for making my experience an unforgettable memory. One of biggest takeaways is to always be adaptive. In life there are many times where an obstacle may interfere with a desired journey. However, it is important to navigate around these obstacles in order to arrive at a final destination. Through the life lessons from the First Tee, I realized the only way to reach a goal is to show perseverance and resilience through challenging times. After all, nothing is really considered a challenge since a challenge is just another word for an unforeseen opportunity.
What was your favorite part of the event?
My favorite part of the event was teaching those at a retirement center how to play golf. It was first time interacting with the locals in Atlanta, Georgia. Hearing their stories of when they were my age was eye opening. It made me really appreciate and cherish every opportunity I am given even more knowing that previous generations paved the way for me to do so. My time spent with them was, in a way, a chance to thank them for being the pioneers for many generations to come.
How did the event inspire you?
The event has inspired me to teach girls of all ages the tricks to properly network. As the founder of Grasp Girls With Golf, it is my goal to not only teach girls the fundamentals of golf but also the benefits of the sport such as networking, internships and scholarships. John Deere representatives informed me of the various careers related to golf course management. By taking this newfound knowledge, I can expose girls in my program with insight about opportunities around the world. As they take part in these opportunities, they will eventually be able to tap into their unknown potential. Being a role model to these girls has always been a dream of mine and I hope they will look back and do the same as well.
How would you encourage someone else thinking of applying for an event with The First Tee?
I would encourage youth to apply to as many events with The First Tee as possible. Having a well-rounded background will help you reach your greatest potential in life. Making new friends around the world is definitely fun, but it’s the people behind these events who carry the resources to help you succeed. All of them are unique in their own way and can possibly be part of your Go-to Team. As you continue to embark on new adventures, they will always be there to assist you along the way. In the end, your newfound network will grow and eventually open doors for you.
Building Leadership Skills and Character
The First Tee junior golf program doesn’t just get kids on the course; we offer youth exciting opportunities for growth. With the help of our corporate partners, we host a series of events to our more advanced teenage participants, allowing them to meet new people, play some golf, achieve greatness, and show off our nine core values in action.
HOW CAN TEENS TAKE THE NEXT STEP?
These opportunities are only available to youth involved in chapters of The First Tee. Most of the events and programs have a selection process that includes an application reviewed by a committee. Parents, if you want your child to participate, please inquire at your chapter.
Not yet involved in The First Tee?