In 2012, The First Tee of the Grand Strand (TFTTGS) began an alliance with the Carol S. Petrea Youth Golf Foundation, and the high-performing chapter The First Tee of Brunswick County, with the overarching goal to reach as many youth as possible in Horry and Georgetown County. Entering 2015, TFTTGS will be working from a solid platform to expand our Life Skills Experience programs throughout the Grand Strand in partnership with our schools, volunteers, golf industry leaders and the business community at large. Our goal is to reach at least 10,000 youth in 2015, then continue to expand our programs to ultimately reach 25,000 youth by 2017.
In the Grand Strand, the Golf Capital of the World, the golf-driven lodging and entertainment industries employs over 50% of the workforce. Nowhere are The First Tee’s golf and character-building programs more compelling!
With the enthusiastic support of Dr. Randall Dozier-Superintendent of the Georgetown County schools-and the Board of Education, the National School Program is active in all of the county’s 10 elementary schools. The School Day Program, piloted in 2012, now includes all Georgetown County schools and the Montessori Learning Center. Ten times per school year, our volunteers work with fourth grade classes, and their Physical Education teachers, at a green-grass facility during a 60-minute class centered on The First Tee Nine Core Values™, using golf as the medium. Over 1000 Georgetown County 4th graders participate in School Day Programs at The Tradition Golf Club, Wedgefield Plantation and Cherry Hill Country Club. TFTTGS also has a very successful After School Program at Willbrook Plantation.
In Horry County, TFTTGS has expanded After School and Saturday programs in the City of Myrtle Beach and the North Strand to provide access to golf, fun and the First Tee Nine Core Values™ for all interested youth. After School & Saturday programs are offered at The Legends, Conway Country Club, Shaftesbury Glen, Crown Park, Cane Patch and Eagle Nest.
The National School Program will be reactivated in 11 Horry County elementary schools, with future expansion as a mutual goal. Our goal is to have the National School Program in all 31 Horry County elementary schools, ultimately reaching over 20,000 youth.
Each year, for the Georgetown County elementary schools, a Champions Challenge is held at Wedgefield Plantation, with support from local businesses. Ten elementary schools select a team of 14 fourth graders (7 girls, 7 boys) to compete in a skills challenge. Awards are given to the top 3 schools, top 3 girls, and top 3 boys. The Champions Challenge will be extended to participating Horry County schools in the Fall of 2015. Parents and business leaders are welcome to attend the events to see for themselves the positive impact of The First Tee.
Also in the Summer of 2015, The First Tee of the Grand Strand will kick off its first DRIVE program with the Grand Strand Miracle Leagues, serving Special Needs participants. The First Tee DRIVE – Develop Rewarding, Inspiring Values for Everyone who participates – was created with youth development professionals and volunteer leaders in mind to work with YMCA/YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Church groups and other youth-serving organizations. Of course, The First Tee Nine Core Values™ are embedded in each lesson.
In August of 2014, TTFTGS hired Rich Abraham, a 30-year veteran of the commercial insurance industry and life-long golf fanatic, as the Executive Director exclusively dedicated to the Grand Strand. Rich joins Program Director Tommy Gaither, who worked with Georgetown County schools, supported by over 100 active volunteers, to build The First Tee program in Georgetown County. As we expand in 2015 and beyond, TFTTGS will need to recruit and train at least 200 more volunteers to maintain the high quality and safety of our programs. Volunteers are the key to our success and our future!
The goal for 2015 is to forge interdependent partnerships with the Grand Strand schools, communities and businesses to deliver The First Tee Life Skills Curriculum to an ever-expanding number of our youth. The First Tee of the Grand Strand must have the support of the local communities and businesses to continue to positively impact our culture.
The Foundation does business as (dba):
The First Tee of Brunswick County
The First Tee of The Grand Strand
The First Tee of The Cape Fear Region
The First Tee of Eastern North Carolina
The Carolinas Life Skills and Leadership Academy
Information contained within TFT Brunswick County’s website