Because the girls division, Thinking Outside The Tee Box, has been effective and well-received, the Foundation offered the same type of event to its male program participants for the first time this year! The 1ST Annual Other Side Of The Green golf outing was hosted on Saturday, May 30, 2009 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. A Chicago area male business professional was paired with a male Kids Golf participant ages 12-18, in a scramble and mentoring activity.
The event kicked off with a Welcome Dinner for the Kids Golf boys on Friday night at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Aurora. The boys had the opportunity to interact with each other, as well as hear an inspirational message from guest speaker Scott Sonnenberg, Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships with the Chicago Bulls and former Division I Scholarship Athlete.
Another inspirational guest surprised everyone when she stopped by Saturday morning, shortly after the participants arrived for the event. Ladies European Tour Professional Laura Davies signed the boys’ hats and offered her advice to the boys on the challenging course of Rich Harvest Farms.
Before heading out to the golf course to begin the 9-hole scramble, each foursome then visited various stations where they had a chance to practice putting, stretching, chipping, and full-swinging. At their warm-up stations, each of the four activity leaders incorporated a different life skill into both areas of business and golf, such as communication, preparation, concentration, vision, and balance.
“The activity stations are a great concept as far as giving the kids a chance to interact and meet with the professionals while learning things like balance,” said activity leader, Michael Chen, Vice President of Broken Arrow Golf Course. “I focused on balance at my full-swing station ─ having a balance in your golf swing, as well as in your life. There is so much out there like school and work that you need to be well-rounded.”
After the scramble, participants were treated to a Luncheon and Silent Auction where learning and networking continued. It was an encouraging experience for the Kids Golf boys, who genuinely appreciated their time with their business professional.
“Mr. Billy Abt told me to never give up on my dreams and to work extra hard and put everything I have into reaching my goals,” said participant Jack Ferguson, Prospect Heights Park District.
The Kids Golf boys were paired with business professionals based on their career interests. In order to earn pretend money and bid on items at the Kids Silent Auction, the boys had to do things during their round like ask questions, initiate conversation, and make eye contact with their partner when conversing.
“It is rare that I get to share the wisdom of experience with a kid yearning for knowledge,” said business professional, John Bitner, Director at Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “We discussed how to succeed through preparation and perseverance. We talked about overcoming adversity in our lives just as we approach an errant shot that lands in a sand trap.”
Overall, the event was a huge success and the Foundation looks forward to next year’s 2nd Annual Other Side Of The Green! Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 22, 2010 as the date! If you are interested in becoming a business professional, please visit our website at www.kidsgolffoundation.org for the Interested Business Professional Form, available to download under the “Get Involved” section. We welcome you to fill it out and submit via fax to the Kids Golf Foundation at (630) 466-0914.