This past summer, six junior golfers from Illinois participated in a fundraising program created and administered by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). The program called Leadership Links was established with the goal to ‘help develop young men and women through leadership opportunities like raising money for local charities and giving of their time by volunteering.’
Individuals who participated in this fundraising effort had the choice of six separate opportunities designed to help them give back to their communities. Two of the programs, Birdies for Charity and Pen To 10 for Charity were chosen by these golfers, all of whom selected the Kids Golf Foundation as their beneficiary.
The junior golfers from Illinois who participated include, Ashley Armstrong of Flossmoor, Illinois (Homewood-Flossmoor High School), Jack Ferguson of Mt. Prospect, Illinois (Wheeling High School), Hayley Guyton of Sugar Grove, Illinois (Kaneland High School), Raymond Knoll of Naperville, Illinois (Naperville North High School), Shane Purtle of Lemont, Illinois (Lemont High School), and Kayla Stueland of Geneva, Illinois (St. Francis High School).
“It is wonderful to see so many youngsters giving back to their community,” said Holly Alcala, Foundation Director. “The money raised through their efforts will go a long way in inspiring others in the sport of golf and in life. The high school golfers who participated in Leadership Links should feel very proud of themselves.”
And indeed, these golfers are proud. One participant, Ashley Armstrong chose the Birdies for Charity Program and played in a number of competitions this past summer. When deciding on why she wanted to participate and give back to the Foundation, Armstrong said, “I realized the many opportunities the game of golf has given me, and I know that by participating in this program I can provide other kids with the same resources.” Birdies for Charity allows juniors to secure pledges for each birdie they make in competitive tournament rounds during the summer. Armstrong continued, “I chose the Kids Golf Foundation as the charitable recipient for my efforts, because it is one of the best known golf organizations in Illinois that teaches the fundamentals of golf and provides a great way for kids to get started.”
For those junior golfers who are interested in giving back but have limited time, resources, or ability to play in tournaments, there are other opportunities available. The Pen To 10 for Charity Program allows juniors to write letters that are sent to a minimum of ten contacts including family, friends, and corporations requesting monetary support for a local charity and the AJGA’s youth development programs. The AJGA assists the juniors who enroll in this program by providing the letters and envelopes along with thank you letters for those who choose to contribute.
Raymond Knoll is one of the juniors who participated in the Pen To 10 for Charity Program. He explains his reason for getting involved when he stated, “I broke my wrist two days before the tournament season started, and I thought Pen To 10 for Charity was an awesome way to stay involved with fundraising. My efforts turned out to be very successful.”
Through Leadership Links, both local charities and junior golfers benefit. High school golfers are provided with an excellent opportunity to enhance their resumes for golf and college. In addition, participants in this program may be eligible for national recognition and awards and take satisfaction in knowing that they have been a good steward to their community.
“The AJGA has done an incredible job in creating a program that challenges junior golfers and teenagers to think beyond themselves and beyond the fairway,” said Alcala. “To be successful within Leadership Links, participants need to be organized, enthusiastic, set goals, understand how to communicate, and much more. These are all lessons that they will carry for a lifetime.”
Both the Kids Golf Foundation and AJGA encourage all junior golfers who are interested in participating in fundraising programs next summer to get involved and start planning now. Promotional materials and interest forms will be available later this winter, and registration will start in early 2011. If you are interested in learning more or would like to be sent materials, please contact the Kids Golf Foundation.
The Foundation remains a junior golf resource year-round to individuals and organizations wishing to start a program in their area or get involved with our various volunteer opportunities. We encourage all program participants and junior golfers to learn more about the Leadership Links program and how they can get involved. If you’re interested, please contact the Foundation office to find out if you’re on the list for receiving promotional materials. For more information, visit our website at www.kidsgolffoundation.org, contact the Foundation office at (630) 466-0913, or email us at email@example.com.