All of us can think of someone who has made a lasting impression on our life. On October 1, business professionals gathered at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois to spend the day with a junior golfer and created positive memories surrounding their careers and passions.
Female Chicagoland professionals were paired with Kids Golf Foundation girls between the ages of 11-17 in order to provide advice about their education, careers, hobbies, and more. Thinking Outside The Tee Box teaches participants how golf can be a vehicle to further their education and career through a series of activity stations and a scramble. Many of the participants are first generation golfers and all were eager to learn how the sport can impact areas on and off the course.
Over the past eight years, 89 Business Professionals have served as mentors, and the 2011 staging proved to be another success. “This event was a great opportunity to give back, which is something I am passionate about,” said Lindsey Howard, business professional. “My partner Kira and I had many great discussions and I truly felt like she listened and took away from my advice – Kira even helped out the other girl in our group which was really nice to see.”
The University of St. Francis Women’s Golf Team led a series of activity stations to teach the girls life and golf skills. For example, the stretching station was paired with the preparation life skill and participants learned how to prepare for golf (stretch before a round) and life (prepare for a test). Participants and Business Professionals rotated through the stations to warm up and become acquainted with each other, while the student-athletes served as additional female role models at the event.
A University of St. Francis Golf Team member also participated in the scramble with each group of business professionals and participants. Not only did this allow for additional mentorship for the program participants, but groups also benefitted from using the student-athlete’s golf ball.
The beauty and prestige of Rich Harvest Farms set the tone for meaningful conversations between mentor and junior golfer during the nine-hole scramble. Allison Buck, program participant, learned a lot from her mentor. “She told me to always take your time and to focus – in golf and in life. And to never get mad at yourself.”
A luncheon concluded the day, where professionals, junior golfers, and family members mingled and continued their conversations. Stephanie Kane, a donor and regular Foundation volunteer, shared some words of inspiration for the audience. “Take advantage of all the opportunities golf provides you. Golf has definitely been something I use even in my job today working for Kellogg – whether it’s making a deal on the course or having the confidence to network and meet new people.”
Each participant received a “Career Handbook” with career descriptions and degree requirements, as well as articles related to creating a resume, interviewing, office etiquette, and more. The Foundation encouraged parents and guardians to spend time with their children to review the information and apply it to their lives. In conjunction with guidance received from their business professional and support at home, participants can use the Handbook as they progress through high school and beyond.
The Foundation relies on volunteer support, and many former business professionals and participants return and take on a new role at the event. Accompanying support from volunteers was a generous contribution from the Efroymson Family. The family has been contributing annually since 2004 to support Thinking Outside The Tee Box, as well as the male version of the event called Other Side Of The Green, through the Efroymson Family Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation Fund.
The Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois is dedicated to bringing the sport of golf into the lives of children and providing them with opportunities for personal growth and career enhancement; and is always looking for individuals to participate as mentors and change the life of a child. Other Side Of The Green will take place May 19, 2012 and Thinking Outside The Tee Box will be hosted September 15, 2012. If you or a colleague are interested in getting involved and making a difference, please visit the Kids Golf Foundation website at www.kidsgolffoundation.org for more information.