SUGAR GROVE, IL – On Sunday, October 10, 2021, the Kids Golf Foundation (KGF) hosted their annual Mentoring Event at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL. KGF has been hosting Mentoring Events since 2004 with the aim of providing youth golfers with the real-world skills and tools necessary to succeed in their future careers.
The event matched 24 KGF Participants, 12 girls and 12 boys ages 11-17, with 24 Business Professionals who shared similar hobbies and/or career interests. After being paired up, the attendees then took part in a series of mentoring activities before playing in a nine-hole scramble.
Each Participant was selected from a pool of applicants who applied through KGF Program Sites from across the state of Illinois. Participants were chosen not for their golf skills, but for showing good character and a desire to improve themselves.
“The purpose of the KGF Mentoring Event goes beyond just golf,” said Michala Mika, Director of the Kids Golf Foundation. “The main objective is to show kids how golf can be a gateway to their future.”
A few early morning rain showers didn’t dampen the mood as Business Professionals, KGF Site Coordinators, and KGF Participants and their families gathered in the Indoor Golf Arena at Rich Harvest Farms to kick off the day. After lunch, Participants and Business Professionals were split into six groups for activity stations that included golf-centric ones like putting, chipping, and full swing, as well as social ones that encouraged Participants to discover what their Business Professionals could teach them.
“I learned the value of networking, even at a young age, and maintaining those networks throughout my life and career,” said Program Participant Trey DeBoer.
Each group in the following nine-hole scramble was comprised of two Participants and two Businesses Professionals. They were also joined by a student athlete from either Northern Illinois University’s Men’s and Women’s golf teams or Aurora University’s Men’s Golf Team, and a Rich Harvest Farms caddy. Not only did the student athletes play with each group, but they offered tips, and helped showcase the wide range of careers and educational opportunities golf can offer.
The scramble provided Participants with further opportunities to learn from their Business Professional as well.
“Advice is so often given, but rarely asked for,” said Business Professional Robert Stahurski, the CEO of Nyco Products Company. “Being asked about my personal business experiences created a unique setting for me to share with the participants how strong core values, dedication, and passion for what you do can create an opportunity for success.”
Parents and guardians were invited to walk the course and watch their child from afar.
“This experience had a very positive impact on my daughter,” noted Keith Haynes, father to Participant Alesia Haynes, as he watched her sink her last putt. “She met some new friends. She had an opportunity to learn about the job of her business professional and got a glimpse into what it takes to succeed professionally and in life. She also really enjoyed the opportunity to play golf with much more experienced female golfers on a professional level golf course.”
At the end of the day, Participants and Business Professionals were given a framed photo with everyone’s signatures to commemorate their time together.
“My daughter will always cherish this experience,” Haynes said. “Thank you, Kids Golf Foundation, for providing our youth this opportunity and life memory.”
If you or someone you know would like to take part in a future KGF Mentoring Event, please go to www.kidsgolffoundation.org to find out more.