Community Spotlight 6/21

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – First Tee is is a national non-profit organization with chapters all across the country. In the Shenandoah Valley, the local chapter has helped with character development for our youth through the game of golf.

“They’re introduced to our core values and our healthy habits,” said Tom Tattersall, executive director of First Tee Shenandoah Valley. “Ultimately, we’re trying to make them better citizens.”

Six weeks of classes with one end goal; giving kids and teens five through 17 years old, “drive” on and off the course.

“Yes, they will learn the physical game; how to hold the club, how to stand, how to swing real big, how to hold your balance,” said Drew Fournier, program director for First Tee Shenandoah Valley. “But the most rewarding part of the program is the life skills and the core values.”

First Tee Shenandoah Valley has helped thousands of kids over the years. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the green, the goal is to help shape the world beyond a Valley golf course.

“With our core values, we have things like honesty, integrity, responsibility, sportsmanship,” said Tattersall. “Golf is one of those unique sports out there, where you have to show those core values to really grow and progress, and go through the game.”

The team of coaches and volunteers work to help grow youth into stronger citizens. Financial help is available for anyone who may need it, for their child to play.

The overall goal for the nonprofit is to send youth off with having a golf club in one hand, and a diploma in the other, along with life lessons instilled in them.

“Patience,” said Fournier. “It’s a little white ball, hitting it into a really small hole. Definitely perseverance. First when you start something new, it’s going to be very difficult. But the more you do something, the better you get. All of a sudden your confidence starts to go up and up and up.”

The non-profit also works with “at-risk” and troubled youth in their Juvenile Diversion Program. They also go into schools for lessons and put together clinics to link local heroes with the pros. Anything they can do to help kids and teens grow character.

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