First Tee is an international organization that teaches character development for kids through the game of golf. Last year, First Tee Southern Colorado served more than 2,500 kids from ages 3 to 18 in El Paso County.
Executive Director, Sandy Johnson says First Tee is a year-round program that empowers kids and teens to be their best selves.
"100 percent of youth is 100 percent of our future," Johnson said. "So we want to make sure that we're instilling character development traits and core values so they can be successful adults when they grow up."
First Tee has nine core values, and five key commitments and teaches different life skills through golf each week.
"The parents' feedback has been really positive about the changes that they've seen in their kids," Johnson said. "The attitudes, behaviors, and grades are improving."
On top of the life skills, First Tee encourages kids to create friendships and fall in love with the game of golf. One participant, Connor Kinder has been a part of First Tee for 10 years and plans to stay in the program until he graduates.
"I've always loved golf, I love how difficult it is and how much it can push me," Kinder said. "I want to potentially play in college."
Golf can be an expensive sport, so First Tee Southern Colorado provides a full set of clubs to each kid for the duration of the program for free. They also help find other opportunities for participants throughout the year.
"Connor has been here for ten years and has grown up here," Johnson said. "He's going to be able to start getting different participant opportunities so he can travel on a national level to attend different academies, conferences, and golf outings through First Tee."
First Tee Southern Colorado is always accepting new members. The program is held at Valley Hi Golf Course in Colorado Springs. Learn more here.