The traditions and influence of the Kids Golf Foundation and Rich Harvest Farms continue. Year after year, these two groups partner to bring exciting events to amateur golfers in Illinois, many of which help to reinforce the life lessons and values that the sport can teach to those participating or observing.
The leaders and staff within both organizations are no strangers to those lessons, each have stories to share about how golf has molded them. Jerry Rich, owner of Rich Harvest Farms and successful entrepreneur says, “I was exposed to golf at a young age. And today, I can honestly say that the lessons I learned as a caddie, as a golfer and through participating on a high school golf team, helped me throughout my business career.”
Yes, golf can be used as a recreational vehicle, a way to relax and enjoy a summer day, but it is also a tool or activity that business associates can participate in while discussing work and forming relationships. The latter is the reason why the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois will be hosting its 7th Annual Thinking Outside The Tee Box golf outing at Rich Harvest Farms in September.
Thinking Outside The Tee Box pairs a Chicago area female business professional with a young female Kids Golf Foundation participant between the ages of 11-17, in a 9-hole scramble and mentoring activity. “The Thinking Outside The Tee Box event was just fun! We laughed, we talked, and had great conversations!” said Kids Golf participant, Kyet Tate.
The event was created to give the Foundation’s female program participants an opportunity to learn from a leader in the Chicago area who has used the sport as a vehicle to enhance their life and career. “Teaching or reinforcing important morals and values that can be applied to business and life have become increasingly important to the Foundation,” said Holly Alcala, Foundation Director. “Each of us has personal and professional lessons or experiences that we want to share and hand down to the next generation. This event provides the vehicle to do just that.”
The morning clinic, afternoon round of golf, luncheon and silent auction all provide opportunities for the business professionals and junior participants to interact. For example, after each of the activity stations in the morning clinic, the junior participant is given a worksheet that encourages them to think about the business skill and education they just received. They are asked to provide examples or goals for the day that link the business skill to their interaction with their business professional or golf.
“The Thinking Outside The Tee Box event was wonderful. The event let me teach others what I’ve learned through golf. It’s a wonderful feeling to hand that down,” Christina Karris, Business Professional participant.
It is the attitude of people such as Christina that make this event so special. They are a critical component to the event, and are the ones that emphasize the life lessons and values that are important to the Foundation, things such as honesty, integrity, balance and perseverance.
“To have mentors and others in your life that are willing to share their experiences and support you no matter what is vital,” said Alcala. “To have that solid foundation, unconditional support and wisdom of years, can make your own road more stable and enjoyable. Those who receive that support are lucky, and those who give are blessed.”
After the 9-hole scramble participants will be treated to a luncheon and silent auction. This serves as a great learning opportunity for the girls since many have never participated in a silent auction before. In order for the girls to earn pretend money to bid on items, the girls have to do things during the event like ask questions, initiate conversation, make eye contact with their business professional partner when conversing, and use proper golf etiquette.
In the history of the event over 70 girls have had the opportunity to participate. To this day, some of the past participants from the early years continue to communicate with their business professional or have come back to volunteer, which is a reflection of the impact the event has made on their life.
“The Foundation is extremely important to my family and to our facility of Rich Harvest Farms,” proclaims Rich. “Events such as Thinking Outside The Tee Box allow us to reach out to our communities by offering participants an experience they will never forget.”