This March, Girl Scouts could be seen armed with water bottles and towels ready to participate in a variety of health and fitness activities at Fit Fest in Country Club Hills, Illinois. The Kids Golf Foundation partnered with the Girl Scouts to bring the rewarding sport of golf to over 100 young girls ranging in age from kindergarten through fifth grade. The Foundation also wanted to demonstrate how Girl Scout Troops can benefit from Kids Golf Foundation programs by reaching out to Troop Leaders at the event. The girls in attendance represented 7 different Girl Scout Troops from the greater Chicagoland area.
Fit Fest is an interactive festival presented by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. During the festival, groups of Girl Scouts rotated through 6 different activity stations for 20 minutes each. The stations included, the Kids Golf Foundation, Chicago Force Football, Yoga, Dancing, Nutrition, and Self Defense. Fit Fest is designed to emphasize to young girls the importance of staying active and demonstrate a variety of fun ways to do so. “Fit Fest is great, it introduces girls to different sports and new opportunities,” says Danielle Jones, a Troop Leader who brought her Girl Scouts to the event.
The Foundation’s activity area was divided into two sections, a putting course and an educational area. The putting course allowed Girl Scouts to challenge their golf skills using SNAG (Starting New At Golf) golf equipment which uses oversize clubs, colorful balls, and above ground Velcro targets to teach beginning golfers the fundamentals of the game. SNAG is uniquely designed golf equipment that is perfect for all skill levels.
In the educational area, Girl Scouts were able to learn about golf health, life lessons and fitness using an interactive exhibit. Girls chose their favorite foods from a display and then discussed the health benefits or disadvantages of each. Girls Scouts also talked about the importance of sportsmanship and its application to golf. Finally, Girl Scouts learned about why and how golf can be a fun way to stay active and healthy. “Fit Fest was a great way to spend the afternoon! Fitness and nutrition are important to me because I have seen how bad habits have affected young girls. This event is getting girls to be active and eat healthy at a younger age, and will transform into good habits as they grow older,” says volunteer and high school golfer Ashley Armstrong.
The Foundation’s activity at Fit Fest would not have been possible without the help of enthusiastic volunteers from the Girls Golf Teams from both Lincoln-Way East High School and Homewood-Flossmoor High School. The volunteers shared their golf expertise with the Girl Scouts as they came through the activity and were also included in a question and answer session at the end of the day to share the positive experiences they have each had as student-athletes and golfers.
The Foundation hopes that Outreach events such as Fit Fest encourage participants to get involved in golf and stay active. Through Fit Fest, the Foundation emphasized to participants that golf is a sport for people of all ages and is a great way to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. Holly Alcala, Foundation Director, says, “Events such as Fit Fest are becoming increasingly important to our Foundation. Our new outreach department’s role now and in the future is to seek out opportunities such as this that will allow the Foundation to further our mission.”
The Foundation has a specific expertise in junior golf programming and events and it certainly shows at festivals such as this where children who have never been exposed to the sport are able to learn the basic fundamentals of golf in a matter of 20 minutes while having fun.
Participating in events such as Fit Fest is important; it allows the Foundation to reach out to other organizations that may be unfamiliar with the Kids Golf Foundation and the opportunities that it can provide. The Foundation was able to connect with all the Girl Scout Troop Leaders in attendance and offer them information about the Foundation and its many resources. One of the resources that that Foundation offers to organizations is the SNAG Demo Program. The program, which is free of charge, allows organizations an opportunity to try the Foundation’s SNAG equipment with their participants. The Foundation hopes that after participating in the golf activity at Fit Fest, Girl Scout troops will want to continue their interaction and adopt the Foundation’s programs, such as the SNAG Demo Program.
The Kid Golf Foundation remains a junior golf resource year-round to individuals wishing to start a program in their area. For more information about starting a program, volunteering, or getting involved, please contact the Foundation at (630) 466-0913 or visit our website at www.kidsgolffoundation.org where you can view our video, image galleries, program information and more.