By: Sydney S., First Tee – Four Corners
By: Belle T., First Tee – Four Corners
1.Why do you think having a healthy mindset is important?A healthy mindset is both your physical and mental wellbeing. You must take care of yourself physically, which is getting the right amount of sleep, eating healthy, and incorporating a heathy day to day habit of physical fitness. Mentally it’s being open to your emotions, setting realistic goals, and having an open and positive outlook to everything. It’s important to have a healthy mindset because it brings you clarity and you are able to make the right decision. You are also less distracted by outside things that will inhibit you from achieving a task which can affect your long-term goal(s).
2. How do you keep a healthy mindset?I try to prevent creating stressors in my life. I plan ahead so that I can get things done in a timely manner, such as getting my homework done early so I have time to possibly ask questions as well as preventing myself from doing more than one homework assignment that is due on the same day prior to the due date.
3. How do you prepare for school/work?Every morning I wake up, I stretch and/or go on a morning run to wake me up. I always eat breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day. When you are sitting in class or work you don’t want to be distracted by the gurgling in your stomach. The night prior I get what I need for school ready for the next day to ensure that I don’t forget anything as well as not putting myself in a position where I have to rush.
4. How do you prepare for social activities (First Tee, other clubs, hanging out with friends)?I make sure nothing is going to prohibit me from attending social activities and distract me. I get my homework done in advance so I can focus on my friends and or the event I am attending. I want to focus on having fun. I know when I was in First Tee, I always cleaned my clubs the night before. I made sure I had water, snacks, sunscreen, and weather gear in my bag so that I was prepared. I also made sure I was drinking a lot of water to ensure I am hydrated for the day of playing outdoors.
5. If you’re stressed, what do you do to relax?When I am stressed, I like to take small breaks from what I am doing (i.e. homework, squad job) I get up and walk around a little bit or I go down to the gym and work out. In the moment when I feel like I must get many things done and it’s impossible I always remind myself “take one thing at a time”. If you stress about all the things, then you are sitting here worrying about it rather than accomplishing them. I sometimes even meet up with friends for lunch or dinner so that I have social interactions and forget about some things that are stressing me out.
6. Who can you turn to if you need help?When I need help or guidance I can always turn to my parents. I give either one of them a phone call and I just talk to them. They always give great advice, but they also are great listeners when I need to rant. In my squadron at the Air Force Academy, I could always go to my squadron leadership and ask them advice in what I needed help with, whether that was preparing for being an officer in the Air Force or even life advice for after academy life. Never be too afraid to ask anyone for help, there is always someone who will want to help you out.
7. If you make a mistake, how do you learn from it and move forward?Everyone makes a mistake, even I have made mistakes throughout my life. The first thing I do is own up to my mistake. I reflect on the action that occurred that led to the mistake and I also reflect on the outcome of that mistake and how it affects me but also others around me. I then talk to someone that could give me advice and give me suggestions on what I can do to improve to avoid the same mistake in the future.
8. If you see a friend or family member in need, what can you do to encourage them?When I see a friend or family member in need, I always reach out to them and ask them if they are okay. Sometimes they will say no, and I ask why, I always tell them that they are not acting their normal self and that’s when they normally break down their guard and tell me what is wrong. If they need someone to talk to, I always make sure they have my attention, I put my phone away out of view and I always engage in a conversation with them. I always let my friends and family know that I care about them and I am always there for them.
9. What has First Tee taught you about a healthy mindset?First Tee has taught me how important a healthy mindset is. It can affect the way that you play in golf, but it can also affect you mentally and physically outside of the game. Having a healthy mental mindset is not just for the game of golf, it is also for your day to day life. First Tee has taught me how to not dwell on the past or on negative things because it will be overwhelming. But First Tee has also taught me to have a positive outlook and how to handle different situations that may not be in my control.
This month, we had the privilege of hearing from a participant and a coach, from First Tee – South Puget Sound, about their thoughts on keeping a healthy mindset.
Mason G., 10 years old
1.Why do you think having a healthy mindset is important?When you have a healthy mindset you feel good about yourself and others.
2. How do you keep a healthy mindset?By listening to music, and thinking about positive things in my life.
3. How do you prepare for school/work?Eating a good breakfast.
4. How do you prepare for social activities (First Tee, other clubs, hanging out with friends)?By just having fun….
5. If you’re stressed, what do you do to relax?I lay down and get comfortable and watch some YouTube videos or TV.
6. Who can you turn to if you need help?Mom and Dad.
7. If you make a mistake, how do you learn from it and move forward?I think about what I did wrong and how I can do better next time.
8. If you see a friend or family member in need, what can you do to encourage them?I talk to them and ask them what’s wrong and tell them that it’s the past and to move on.
9. What has First Tee taught you about a healthy mindset?First Tee has taught me good manners, positive habits and how to behave on the golf course. Thank you to all my First Tee Coaches – special shout out to Coach Frank.
What we think, influences our behaviors and emotions every day. Just as you exercise your swing before hitting the ball, it’s important to practice things that can lead to a healthy mindset. Our minds are valuable tools, and maintaining a healthy headspace on and off the golf course can improve confidence and drive. First Tee guides kids to develop stronger social and emotional wellness skills through active learning experiences. These lessons can be used by youth and adults to develop and maintain healthy mindsets at home, school, and in the community. Here are four steps to start developing a healthy mindset.
1. Have a positive attitude.By focusing on gratitude and practicing positive-self talk, you might be surprised by how much better it makes you feel. Everyday look for new ways to nurture your positive attitude through eating healthy, staying active, and being honest.
2. Give your best effort.Parents and mentors can encourage kids to give their best effort as often as possible, and keeping yourself accountable is the easiest way to lead by example. Giving your best effort allows you to realize what you are truly capable of, and become more confident in your skills.
3. Give back.Giving back to your community, or causes that you care about is another great way to maintain a healthy mentality. Volunteering can help your family connect with others who hold similar values and beliefs. Even activities as simple as tutoring someone on the weekend, or pulling a neighbors weeds can have a tremendous effect on the community you live in.
4. Take ownership.Helping kids realize they have control over the outcomes of the challenges they face, can help build confidence and reduce anxiety. Reducing anxiety and practicing problem-solving capabilities at a young age can have a huge effect on how their mindset develops through the rest of their lives. First Tee guides kids to strengthen what’s inside them and put it into action. It’s a priority for us to guide kids to care for their social and emotional wellness so when they step up to the next shot, math test, or presentation they have the strength to move forward, aim further, and finish stronger than the last time. Click here to find a First Tee chapter near you!
Victor Caliguri, First Tee – Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
1. What does “showing up to others” mean to you?Showing up to others means being the bigger person. Being the bigger person in any situation you face. You face many hardships in life and you have to be the bigger person to overcome those conflicts. Showing up to others is a way of showing maturity and proving to people that you are capable of doing whatever task you take on.
2. How do you show up for your friends?I show up for my friends by trying to be the smarter person. Making the right decisions and helping them go down the right path. My friends can also help me keep going down the right path if I start to make wrong decisions. No matter what the circumstance is, I will always be there for them.
3. How do you show up for your family?I show up for my family by trying to be supportive. Being supportive in a family is everything because we all need each other. A family is everyone working together to be the best people they can be and loving each other as you do it. I show up by listening to them and trying to help them with anything they need.
4. How do you show up for your community?I love to volunteer for my community. Helping the needy is always a blessing and I really enjoy it. Seeing the smile you put on peoples faces always makes my day. Showing up for your community isn’t just helping people. You can help the environment by picking up others trash and trying to make the world we live in a clean place.
5. How do you feel after helping others?I love helping others. I always feel accomplished as if I did what I wanted to do. I feel happy that I was able to make someone’s day easier. When they show their appreciation for you after you help them it feels even better.
6. How do you mentally prepare to show up for your role?I tell myself that I can do whatever I am about to do and go into everything confident. Having a bad mentality about something is never a good start. Being confident in myself makes me know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to no matter what the role is.
7. What impact has it made on your life when someone has been there for you?Having someone to turn to when times are tough is crucial for me. I always love when my friends take time out of their days to listen to me and what I have going on. It has made me realize that when I take my time to listen to their problems it definitely makes them happier because it sure does when they do it.
8. What does it feel like when someone is there for you?It makes me feel loved and welcomed. Having someone always there is a great gift and I’m so grateful for that. I try to be that person that anyone can turn to because I will always take time out of my day to help people because that’s what makes me happy.
9. What have you learned through First Tee about showing up for others?I learned that showing up for others can teach others very valuable lessons. Being the bigger person can lead those people around you to get out of their shell and show up for others. Don’t be afraid to take action because when you do that it will help everyone with you be more confident and you will all learn from it.
Megan Parayno, a Recognized First Tee Coach, began her First Tee career in 2014. For the past 7 years she’s been working to inspire and empower kids and teens, first as a lead coach for First Tee — Monterey County and now as the Program Director for First Tee — Fresno. In her free time, Megan follows her passion of being a self-proclaimed “sneakerhead and reseller” and is ready to be able to return to her weekly bowling leagues once it’s safe to do so. Coach Megan grew up in Fresno, CA and attended Cal State University Monterey Bay on a golf scholarship, majoring with a B.S. in Kinesiology. After graduating in 2016, she moved back to Fresno to take on the role of Program Director. “It was a perfect opportunity to give back to the community that gave so much to me when I was growing up.” Since returning to Fresno, Megan has earned a Master’s in Sports Administration from Fresno Pacific University. “My favorite part of being a coach is building relationships. Being able to see them grow up and watch them mature and become a mentor to younger kids is why I love coaching. On a personal note, I was able to witness my sister, Lauren, play the PURE Insurance Championship, be her chaperone, and watch how her game has developed over the years.” Coach Megan knows the importance of showing up for others and giving back to her family, friends, community and participants. “I had a First Tee parent come to me and she mentioned that her daughter was looking to speak with someone who related to her. Her daughter was struggling with finding herself. All it took was a couple hours hitting golf balls on the range to show her that First Tee is a safe place for her to talk. I had the ability and the resources to relate to her and understand what she is going through and took that time to “show up” for her. Coach Megan is giving her participants opportunities to show up in their community and learn the importance and impact of giving back.
For some, golf may be just a game. For us, it’s an avenue in which kids and teens discover the confidence and inner strength inside of them and learn to bring that to everything they do. One of the ways we cultivate this, is by encouraging youth to understand the value and importance of helping those around them. In your community, within your family or school, the world is in need of game changers who will show up for others. Claire Alford, from First Tee – Central Coast, is a game changer who, with the help of her school club, started the first Community and Health Resources Fair. “Our goal was to provide vital health resources to the students at our school. My family is part of Santa Maria’s 74% Hispanic population, as counted by the US Census Bureau. At school I see how most of my peers rely on the federal free lunch program to get meals every day. By founding the Culture Community and Cuisine Club and creating the health fair, my brother and I helped bring health screenings and support to our peers.” She could tell you that this is no small feat. Claire and her brother attended daily meetings and phone calls with school administrators and the community providers to ensure the event was a success. Due to the diverse population in the community, students struggle with a variety of issues that are often ignored. Community partners were present at the event to establish a safe environment for all students at the school. “The most rewarding part of the day was seeing my classmates connect with services they needed. My life goal is to expand access to basic health evaluations and treatment to other rural towns in the same way that the First Tee has spread access to the life changing game of golf.” We are proud of kids and teens, like Claire, that selflessly give their time to care for those around them and exemplify the values taught at First Tee. We can’t wait to see how she continues to work towards her goals in the future.
Emma Laker, First Tee — Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
1. What does “showing up for others” mean to you?Showing up for others means that you are there for someone when they need you. You show kindness by helping others and not just thinking of yourself. You give people the respect they deserve.
2. How do you show up for your friends?I show up for my friends by being there when they need me. One of my friends lost her mom and just by being there made her feel better and that everything was going to be okay.
3. How do you show up for your family?I show up for my family by helping out around the house and making it easier on my parents. I realize how hard they work so that we can go to a Catholic school. I show them how thankful I am by trying hard with my schoolwork and doing my best I can.
4. How do you show up for your community?I show up for my community by serving at my church and helping at my school. I helped at the After School Program by helping kids with their homework. I also volunteer at the Brighton Center around Christmas time by donating to families in need.
5. How do you feel after helping others?I feel amazing. I realize how extremely lucky and blessed I am to have all of the love and support of my family and friends. When I am helping others I feel like I am giving them some of my joy and happiness.
6. How do you mentally prepare to show up for your role (coach, student, parents etc)?I show up for my role by being confident. I make sure that I have practiced as much as possible. I always make sure that I persevere and keep going no matter what. Whether good or bad I’ve tried my best and that’s all I can do.
7. What impact has it made on your life when someone has been there for you?It shows me that I am surrounded by friends and family that love me no matter what. I can look up to my friends and family to help me through the rough times.
8. What does it feel like when someone is there for you?It feels like I am loved. I have people who I can count on. It feels really good to have people in my life who can be there for me.
9. What have you learned through First Tee about showing up for others?I have learned to use the core values. I have learned to respect others and my surroundings. I have also learned to use responsibility while on the golf course. Using the Core Values allows us to show up for others.
Golf is a fun and challenging platform for growth, helping kids and teens build the confidence to show up to a challenge, the resilience to keep going when they fail, and the inner strength to do the right thing, even with it’s the hard thing. For today’s youth, First Tee provides mentors who help them write their personal growth story. Ron Castillo, First Tee – North Florida Program Director since 2017, has been a part of First Tee since 2001. “I moved back to Atlanta after working as an assistant golf professional in Hilton Head, SC. I called one of my professional mentors and told him I was looking for a job. His reply was, “yes, I’ll always have a job for you. Come by tomorrow.” I have been involved with First Tee ever since. Speaks volumes to having a Go-To Team!” For twenty years he’s been a coach, a mentor and a friend. He can tell you stories about numerous participants and families he’s gotten to know and how their kids have grown to be college graduates, doctors, entrepreneurs, husbands, wives, parents, and yes, professional golfers. When he joined First Tee, he was ready for the next stage in his career. He stays for something much more personal. “Simply put, I stay because I absolutely love what I do. Being a coach at First Tee has helped me be a better husband and father. I find myself thinking about First Tee lessons when advising my son and making decisions for my household.” Coach Ron shares with us why golf is the perfect sport for learning lifelong skills and fostering personal growth.
First Tee builds experiences that build character. As a youth development organization, we believe experiences are our greatest teacher and that they should be both fun and meaningful, where kids feel excited to grow, safe to fail and better equipped for whatever comes their way. Whether you are looking to join our program or still considering your options, here are commonly asked questions to get you started.
How do you build character through golf?We see golf as a metaphor for life. It’s not the score that counts, but what you learn along the way. Like in life, golf requires goal setting, working with others and digging deep when things get tough (perseverance). Golf is a perfect practice ground for learning skills that go far beyond the fairways.
What if my child has never picked up a golf club before?We know it can feel intimidating to start something new. Everyone was a beginner once and our coaches are trained in creating a supportive environment to make kids feel comfortable and assure they have fun while learning about themselves and golf.
Do I need to provide golf equipment for kids?Chapters provide access to all the equipment you will need. No need for special golf attire.
Will my child be participating in a safe environment?First Tee and its chapters are committed to having a safe and welcoming environment for everyone involved in the organization. As part of our commitment, all employees, coaches and volunteers must complete a background check before working with our youth. Plus, all employees, coaches, volunteers, and board members are required to complete the U.S. Center for SafeSport training program.
Is there competition and physical activity?Absolutely! First Tee is an activity-based program, so our lessons include movement that can range from games to walking/playing the course. As participants get older, they have the chance to compete at national events held across the country.
Is there a chapter near me?We’re closer than you think. First Tee offers programs in all 50 states through First Tee chapters, School Programs, and after-school Community Programs. We also offer programs in a number of international locations.
What if I have financial concerns?No worries—chapters offer full scholarships or reduced fee programming for those who need it.
Parents’ GuideFlip through our parents’ guide to learn more about our wide ranging opportunities for kids and teens.
Get InvolvedFirst Tee provides active learning experiences for youth that help build their inner strength, self-confidence and resilience. Find a chapter today!
Personal Growth Through GolfBretton M. from First Tee – Central Florida
1. How does golf relate to life?Golf relates to life because life isn’t always easy and neither is golf. So it teaches you to always persevere even when times are tough.
2. How does golf challenge you to be a better person?Golf challenges me to be a better person because I want to be well respected and to be known as a good person so I always want to be the best I can be.
3. What is your favorite part about playing golf?My favorite part about playing golf is all of the wonderful opportunities in life you can have from the game.
4. What golf skills helps you the most off the course?Golf has really helped my confidence level and that is something that is important in life so I am very happy to have gained that skill.
5. How can golf make you a more rounded individual?Golf can help you be a more rounded individual because you have to show respect to the course, your peers and yourself so that right there makes you a better person to have those skills.
6. How are you inspired through golf?I have really been inspired by Arnold Palmer and his positive impacts on the community and his amazing golf success.
7. How have you grown up over the past year?I have grown this year in many ways. I have been able to drastically improve my golf game physically and mentally. I have also become stronger and tougher and much better at controlling my emotions which has helped on the course and in life.
8. What or who motivates you?My Grampa is the person who motivates me because he is the strongest person I know and he makes me want to push harder every day!
9. What is your personal growth goal?A personal growth goal for me would be to have a consistent workout routine.
By Sara Wright, PGA TOUR Henry Mentzel was just seven years old when he was first introduced to First Tee. His parents had been searching for some basic golf lessons for their son and stumbled across First Tee — Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Little did they know, this program would end up providing so much more. First Tee would be one of the most influential programs in young Henry’s life and would prove a catalyst for his personal growth throughout the years. “I have been active in multiple sports throughout my childhood,” Henry explained. “I played soccer, basketball, baseball, just trying to figure out which I enjoyed the most. First Tee introduced golf in a way that allowed me to learn how to play the game, but also taught me life skills that I was able to apply across many areas of my young life. In the end, golf is the sport I enjoy the most.” Henry is currently at the Eagle level, but it was during his time in the PAR level that he learned a valuable lesson on perseverance and how to succeed in golf by continuing through bad breaks and his own mistakes. This lesson also helped him in other aspects of his life. “I applied the perseverance lesson in school, specifically, in Latin,” he said. “I struggled to understand the different parts of Latin grammar and the new vocabulary. My school required Latin, so I had to figure out how to persevere through three years of an unspoken language that did not make sense to me. I made a lot of vocabulary lists, agreed to get a tutor, and started staying after school for help nights. After applying myself, despite some not so great grades on assignments, I started making progress and now, in my third year, I have an A in the class.” Not only do these lessons shape Henry’s life, but they have had a big part in shaping others’ lives, as well. Coached from early on by Tom and Melissa Briner, they not only helped him discover his love for the game of golf, but also gave Henry the opportunity to coach other young golfers at First Tee. “Being able to introduce my friend Will Abel to the game of golf was very meaningful to me,” Henry reflected. “First Tee has given Will the opportunity to begin to learn the game of golf and me the opportunity to teach and play with him. I enjoy that we now both have another common interest that we enjoy doing together.” This friendship between Will and Henry was one of the reasons he was recently awarded with the 2020 Heart of First Tee Award. This award given by First Tee — Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky recognizes individuals who embody the “Heart” of the First Tee through giving of time, talent or treasure; by demonstrating and living one of First Tee values; or by going above and beyond to promote or further their missions. “We are all living in extraordinary and trying times that have tested all of us in ways we couldn’t even imagine nine months ago,” Rosie Abel wrote in her nomination of Henry. “Despite these challenges, Henry – acting upon the values of the First Tee – found a way to make a difference in our son’s life. My son, Will, who has Down Syndrome, is not unlike most sixteen-year-olds — very outgoing, social, and full of energy. But the pandemic has proven to be particularly frustrating for him especially when Ohio shut down in March. His sense of isolation grew as the effects of the pandemic spread.” “When First Tee classes resumed in the summer, Henry continued to be that go-to person for Will,” Rosie continued. “He supports Will at the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati’s Buddy Walk and even invited Will to play a round of golf with him, knowing that Will was not as experienced as himself. Will is not the only recipient of Henry’s friendship. Many coaches and staff have witnessed his kindness and refreshing take on life, feeling joy in other’s successes. We suspect there are many other people who have been touched by Henry and consider him to be on their “go-to team.” Henry currently caddies, is a member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) and Books For Kids (a club where students write and illustrate a book imagined patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital) he also regularly volunteers with his family at a soup kitchen. During the summer, Henry volunteers in First Tee classes where he is a positive role model for the younger kids in the program. “The core values the First Tee teaches are very important for kids and teens today,” Henry continued. “I really believe these core values build kids to be better, stronger, and smarter on and off the golf course each day. First Tee also teaches kids social and mental skills on how to interact and bring out the best in themselves and their teammates. First Tee teaches how to set specific goals and, more importantly, what it takes to achieve them. These essential skills help prepare kids for their future and provide tools for success.” As Henry prepares for his future, one of his immediate goals is to place in the top 10 in one of the golf tournaments he plans to compete in this summer. He is also striving to achieve the A honor role during his freshman year at Walnut Hills High School. His long terms goals are to play college golf and get into medical school. “First Tee has taught me that to achieve these goals I will need to be confident, honest, and persevere through challenges,” Henry added. “Through this program and the coaches who mentor me, I always feel that I can do whatever I set my mind to do. It has helped me understand that a bad day on the course (or in school or in life, in general) is just that – one bad day. Tomorrow is a fresh start.”