Despite the chill in the air and the clouds in the sky, everyone had warmth in their hearts and smiles that were glowing on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at the 5th annual Other Side Of The Green. The event pairs a young man between the ages of 11-17 with a business professional who shares the same interests and career path. They play a 9-hole scramble at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, while the business professionals share personal stories and advice on how to use golf as a vehicle for career and life enhancement.
As excitement filled the air upon arrival, the participants met their business professionals and shared a nice handshake. “Thank you for choosing me and giving me the opportunity to meet a professional mentor who can advise me in the steps I should take to reach my goals,” said program participant Zaahir Jiwani.
The groups then participated in a variety of activity stations – networking, stretching, putting, chipping, and full swing. Stations were lead by student-athletes from both University of St. Francis and Northern Illinois University. They were in charge of not only discussing the physical ability involved, but also the life skill which coincided with each – communication, preparation, vision, concentration, and balance. All of these skills one could apply on and off the golf course. Not only did the student-athletes serve as activity station leaders, but participated in the scramble as well. Each athlete was paired with a group and served as extra help for both scoring and mentoring.
Along with the student-athletes participating, there were two more special guests in attendance. Mr. Robbie Gould, kicker for the Chicago Bears, and Mr. Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls legend each shared words of wisdom and personal advice for all of the participants. Then, as an extra bonus, they played a couple holes with each group sharing experiences, more advice, and encouragement. This created an abundance of excitement from participants, business professionals, and spectators. Program participant Max Fisher said, “I will never forget this special day!”
As the scramble began to end, the sun started shining and everyone regrouped for a delicious luncheon. During lunch, networking was in its prime and there was discussion amongst everyone. Questions were asked regarding what each participant learned throughout the day. When each participant answered, his business professional came up to receive a gift from the special guests, which was later given to the participants. But that was not all; each participant and business professional received a special commemorative gift that will help them remember their time at Rich Harvest Farms.
Overall, the event was a huge success, which was evident in the amount of gratitude everyone was sharing. The participants, business professionals, spectators, volunteers, and student-athletes truly made this a one of a kind event. Business professional Jeff Wineman stated that “everything was amazing and this opportunity will change these kids forever…this was an incredible experience that was eye opening, educational, and meaningful.”
The Kids Golf Foundation is always looking for interested business professionals to get involved! A female version of this mentoring event called Thinking Outside The Tee Box is hosted annually in the fall and will take place on September 14, 2013.
Mentoring events allow guests to experience a very special place for the Foundation to call home. Rich Harvest Farms believes in growing the game and providing educational opportunities for youth. It is home to the Northern Illinois Huskies and hosts many different collegiate and amateur events. Also, many corporations choose to host retreats and corporate outings because of the commitment the facility has to its community and junior golfers.
After breaking records in 2009 with The Solheim Cup, a brand new tournament will be staged in 2016 called the International Crown. This LPGA event will not only bring the best female golfers in the world to Rich Harvest Farms but also provide a multitude of different activities to engage junior golfers. The Foundation looks forward to inviting participants and business professionals back to be involved in the tournament as a spectator, volunteer, or sponsor. For more information regarding the International Crown, please visit www.lpgainternationalcrown.com.