4 Ways To Encourage Positive Thinking In Kids

We all deal with highs and lows in life. Even as kids, we experience a variety of emotions that have a direct impact on our choices, and the way we think about ourselves. A bad experience can result in negative thinking which can be detrimental to a young person’s self confidence and outlook on life. That’s why positive thinking is so powerful— not just for adults but kids as well. Maintaining a positive attitude can be challenging at times, but through practice and encouragement it becomes a skill that can shape and transform young lives.

Just as you exercise your swing before hitting the ball, it’s important to practice things that can promote positive thinking. Our minds are valuable tools, and maintaining a healthy and positive headspace can improve confidence and drive in all aspects of life.

Here are four ways that you can encourage positive thinking in your kids:

  1. Always Give Your Best Effort – Parents and mentors should encourage kids to give their best effort as often as possible. At First Tee, we believe that it is important to help kids show up to the challenge, and develop the resilience and inner strength needed to give their best effort on and off the golf course. If kids can give their best effort in all of their endeavors, they will be able to realize what they are truly capable of. This can directly improve their confidence, and help them develop a positive attitude about the world around them.
  1. Give Back To Your Community – Giving back to your community, or causes that you care about is another great way to maintain a positive mindset. 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 neighbor’s weeds can have a tremendous effect on the community you live in. When kids can see that their actions can make a positive difference in the world, they will be more likely to feel positively about themselves, and their community.
  1. Practice Positive Self-Talk – Parents and mentors should show kids the importance of being gentle with themselves and others. A great way to help kids develop this skill is to tell them to talk to themselves as if they are talking to their best friend. If they wouldn’t say something mean to their friend or loved one, they shouldn’t say it to themselves. The way we think directly impacts our behavior and feelings about the world. If kids can think positively about themselves, they will likely feel the same way about the world around them.
  1. Take Ownership & Responsibility For Your Actions – Helping kids realize they have control over the outcomes of the challenges they face can help build confidence and reduce overall anxiety. Reducing anxiety and practicing problem-solving skills at a young age can have a huge effect on how their mindset develops through the rest of their lives. Raising confident kids is one of the best ways to help encourage positive thinking.

First Tee guides kids and teens to strengthen what’s inside them and put it into action. It’s a priority for us to show young people the value of caring 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.

If you are interested in getting your child involved with First Tee, you can learn more and sign up today.

The Impact Of Having A Good Mentor

Having someone that you can look up to and go to for support is one the most important things a kid can have. Mentors give youth (and even adults) the confidence they need to confront challenges and come up with their own solutions. They provide a safe place for kids and teens to be themselves and have fun, while also learning valuable life skills.  

A great mentor has many traits— they can be a role model, cheerleader, policy enforcer, advocate, and friend to the students they work with. First Tee mentors have a sincere desire to be involved with their students, and treat them with respect. They practice active listening skills and empathy, while also seeking solutions and opportunities for those they work with. 

We celebrate each of our coaches, and recognize them for the unique role they play in young lives. In fact, research shows that First Tee participants think of their coaches as more than just teachers and counselors, but real mentors who have made a positive difference in their lives. 

Here are four ways a mentor impacts their mentees that were inspired and created by what our junior golfers have to say about their coaches:

1. Mentors show that you can never stop learning

They are always growing and showcasing that to their mentees who can feel inspired by how they adapt to life’s challenges.

“I constantly heard that sport emulates life, and life emulates sports. I didn’t understand this concept until I started the First Tee program. Through this sport, I learned accountability and responsibility for my actions and how to respond to adversity.  These lessons have affected my thinking about the impact I have on those around me and how important it is for me to strive to be my best self.”  – Quincy Crawford, participant, 2021 Scholar

2. Mentors help inspire students to be game-changers

Not just for themselves, but in their everyday lives and especially with their peers.

“Having an amazing mentor through the First Tee who I have developed a strong relationship with has inspired me to help others find mentors that can help them through their education and career.”Remi Shendell, participant, First Tee Scholar

3. Mentors teach the importance of active listening

Not only do they offer support, but they show how valuable it can be to listen to someone in both good and bad times.

“Coach Mary Beth McGirr has been a major influence in my life, helping me with golf and with learning critical life skills that will aid me throughout my life. She took me under her wing and has been a shining example for me to follow. Additionally, as a woman, she has been an amazing mentor and example of a strong, confident female for me to look up to and admire. Coach Mary Beth has been one of my biggest fans and encourages me to do my best. She takes time to talk about my golf, life, family and personal struggles. She has been an excellent example of a strong leader and businesswoman who consistently gives back to the game and the community.” –  Alyssa Caraballo, The First Tee of Roanoke Valley

4. Mentors guide students to lead by example

It’s easy to tell someone what to do, but more impactful to give students the tools and examples they need to come to their own solutions.

“Coach Donnie Caldwell, PGA has given me great advice with my golf but more importantly, in my life. He has told me ‘make choices today that you’ll be proud of tomorrow.’ I used to just make choices that seemed the easiest or most convenient. But now I take time to think about those big decisions and how my choices may also affect others. Without him and his advice, I don’t know where I would be with my life, and that’s scary. He has made me a better person and he has shown me how to make the most of my life.” – Braxton Caldwell, First Tee of Pine Mountain

As you can see, the impact of a great mentor is one of our strongest tools in life. Our mentors work to guarantee students that there is someone who cares about them and who will assure them they are not alone in dealing with challenges. Offered at more than 1,200 locations, our program was developed by experts in the field of positive youth development and is delivered by trained coaches, or as our participants say— mentors! 

Check with your local chapter about how you can become a mentor to a junior golfer in your community.

Quick 9: Denise W


Denise W, First Tee – San Francisco 

1. Why is mentorship important?

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed, especially since we now live in an extremely fast-paced world where expectations for us are very high, so having a mentor to guide us through our development process is definitely reassuring.

2. What makes someone a good mentor?

Listening and being able to communicate effectively are qualities that make someone a good mentor. With such qualities, a mentor will be able to offer constructive feedback which will aid in a mentee’s future development.

3. Who has been an impactful mentor to you?

My mom has definitely been the most impactful mentor for me.

4. What have you learned from her/him?

From my mom, I learned that no matter what the circumstances are, hard work pays off. My mom immigrated to the U.S. in hopes to find better future prospects for the family and despite not knowing any English, she still continued to work hard in the U.S. to achieve her goals. In the end, all of her hard work and efforts paid off because she was able to provide the basic necessities for our family and grant my siblings and I access to a higher education.

5. How did/does your mentor help encourage you?

My mom always tells me, “Don’t be afraid of failure. Just go for it!” These are words that I will always remember because they encourage me to try new things, even if I don’t necessarily succeed. It’s a way of telling me that failure is a learning experience and if I fail, I can keep trying.

6. Have you grown as a result of your mentor?

Yes, I have grown as a result of my mom. Her guidance has helped me become more disciplined and more open to new experiences and opportunities. Without her, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.

7. What would it mean to you to become a mentor? Or Do you serve as a mentor at your chapter or any other capacity?

For me, being a mentor is very meaningful and fulfilling because not only am I able to help others, I am also able to develop myself further as a leader.

8. Do you have any advice on how to choose the best mentor in your life?

Find someone who cares about you and is willing to take the time out of their busy day to listen to your needs and help you.

9. What has First Tee taught you about mentorship?

First Tee has taught me that both the mentor and mentee are learners. Both rely on each other as a resource for new perspectives and knowledge. It’s not a one way relationship where only the mentor is helping the mentee.

Quick 9: Ricky L.


Ricky L., First Tee – Tri Valley

1. Why is mentorship important?

Mentorship is important because it allows a chain of knowledge and wisdom from years of experience from mentors to be passed down to mentees, unlocking their potential. Mentorship gives underprivileged students guidance to take control of their own life.

2. What makes someone a good mentor?

A great mentor is someone who has as much common ground with the mentee as possible, such as similar circumstances, college, passions, and career trajectory. More importantly, a great mentor actively listens to the mentee, providing insightful feedback, advice, or opportunities in return.

3. Who has been an impactful mentor to you?

The mentor I have been paired with from the First Tee Scholarship, Jim Smith from Morgan Stanley, has been an amazing mentor, a key guide through all my academic, career, and spiritual difficulties.

4. What have you learned from her/him?

Through our monthly discussions together over the past year, Mr. Smith has given me an abundance of wisdom from his years of experience in becoming a Senior Wealth Portfolio Manager. Also, his advice has helped me get past my choice paralysis in deciding career pathways and majors in college.

5. How did/does your mentor help encourage you?

When I hear about Mr. Smith’s stories of his journey in finding, developing, and maintaining both a loyal client basis and talented team through ups and downs, I am inspired. Additionally, Mr. Smith provides so many life tools, advice, and books/video recommendations to help me stay on a healthy path and achieve career goals.

6. Have you grown as a result of your mentor?

Because of Mr. Smith, I have learned to prioritize my different goals and face my reality with a clear mind. Although remaining open to life, I truly want to serve the world, my community, and my family while also pursuing my passions in computer science, finance, and fitness.

7. What would it mean to you to become a mentor? Or Do you serve as a mentor at your chapter or any other capacity?

Being a mentor to someone is a true honor to me because I can impact someone’s life so personally. I am in Harvard’s Chinese Student Association, and as a sophomore, I am a mentor to freshmen paired with me. Although it can be worrying wondering if you are providing value to your mentees, remember that simply listening and sharing your experience can help them out.

8. Do you have any advice on how to choose the best mentor in your life?

Be open to all mentors, even if they may not align with you in certain aspects such as passions, hobbies, career path, or academic major. Hearing a different perspective may change your mind and open new pathways that you may have not considered. Listen to what your mentor truly has to say and keep asking questions.

9. What has First Tee taught you about mentorship?

First Tee has taught me that mentorship comes from a genuine care to better the world and your community, and that most often, mentees become mentors to future generations. Mentorship keeps the spirit of the First Tee alive as older students come back to volunteer their time to help their chapters.

Looking Back on the First Tee Leadership Summit

This August, we held our first ever First Tee Leadership Summit in the unforgettable backdrop of West Creek Ranch in Montana. This event took place for two weeks, bringing together 20 teens each week from across the country to develop leadership skills through dynamic outdoor and team-building activities. Through collaborative workshops, First Tee’s core competencies of building character, self-confidence and resilience played a huge part of the experience, to explore the concepts of relationship building, positive risk taking, and character evaluation. We recently caught up with participant Benjamin Parris from First Tee – Denver to hear how this year’s event impacted him.

Benjamin Parris, First Tee – Denver

In Denver, I often hear the amazing experiences fellow participants have when they return from First Tee national events. Until the first week of August 2021, I had never experienced one for myself and I was not quite sure what to expect when I was selected for The First Tee Leadership Summit in Partnership with the PGA TOUR Superstore at Mr. Arthur M. Blank’s West Creek Ranch in Montana. As soon as I arrived at the airport, I knew it would be a special week as I was immediately greeted by fellow participants and alumni chaperones. When we arrived at West Creek, even more participants were eager to greet us and introduce themselves. I knew I had formed relationships almost immediately, and those only got better as the week went on. At the summit, we got to participate in activities such as horseback riding, archery, white water rafting, and other spectacular outdoor experiences. Also, during our days, we had the opportunities to listen to guest speakers like Dick Sullivan (CEO of the PGA TOUR Superstore), Ralph Stokes (the PGA TOUR Superstore’s Director of Partnership Marketing and former University of Alabama running back), Joe Shepard (a PGA TOUR Superstore Regional Manager), Stacie Monks (a PGA TOUR Superstore District Manager), and our keynote speaker Michael Vick (former NFL quarterback). We learned lessons in values, teamwork, skill sets, representation, and more. Each day at the summit had a different theme. Our themes were: “relationships are the foundation for leadership,” “positive risk taking,” and “my character is me.” While our speakers were able to give us insightful words and stories on these themes, we learned just as much from our outdoor experiences as we did from our speakers. On Tuesday, we focused on relationships and how trust is the foundation of every successful relationship. After hearing from Dick Sullivan and Michael Vick, six participants, including myself, departed for the ropes course while everyone else elected to horseback ride. When we arrived, we immediately had to build a relationship as we picked partners to ascend on a partner climb up a 30-foot wooden ladder. My partner Sam Gibbs from the First Tee of Fort Worth deserves a quick shoutout for putting her trust in me all week from the second we became partners at the ropes course. On Wednesday, we worked on taking positive risks. My first risk of the day was waking up at 6:30 after a late night to go on a sunrise hike. Let me tell you, the views in Montana were spectacular, it was very much worth the risk of not sleeping in. Later that day I took another risk by going on a 3-hour horseback excursion, by far the longest I had ever been near another animal, besides my dog at home. My biggest takeaway from learning about positive risks were to approach people who think differently than you so you can challenge your own thinking and to seek out your own mentorships. On Thursday, our final full day at the summit, we did a lot of self-reflection while thinking about how to own our characters. Stacie Monks began the day after another gorgeous sunrise hike. She posed the following question to all the participants. “What type of leader do you want to be?” She went onto discuss how to create a culture when you are leading others and how to empower them. Later that morning we had perhaps the hardest task of the entire summit, but also to me the most impactful. We were asked to complete this phrase. “This is what I believe about myself as a leader…” This wasn’t a simple sentence to complete, and to really answer the question, it required more than just a few sentences. To complete the thought, I had to reflect upon all the things I had been through that week at West Creek. I had to think about climbing with a partner, taking leaps of faith, the inspiration I had received from our speakers and workshops, and what I had learned from all the people around me. Later that evening, we sat around the fire pit as we listened and shared all 18 of us has discovered about ourselves as leaders. My favorite part of the leadership summit was the comradery all of the participants formed. I got the opportunity to make 17 new friends, who over the course of the week felt like family. I know that I’ll be keeping in touch with them for years and years to come and can’t wait until I can see them again. For me, the week made me feel like a true member of the greater First Tee family. I had never met a fellow participant from outside of Colorado, but now I feel like I’m connected to the First Tee everywhere I go. I can’t wait to stay involved with the program as I go to college and beyond. I want to thank the First Tee, PGA TOUR Superstore and West Creek Ranch staff one final time for giving me what was truly a life changing experience. The programming was phenomenal, and the experiences were irreplicable. I came back home truly knowing what type of leader I am and how I can continue to grow as a leader. I can’t wait to apply what I learned in Montana to our local programs in Denver as well as other extracurriculars I participate in. I feel honored that I was a part of the inaugural summit.

2021 Golf Tournament Results


First Flight:
Winning Score was 54.  Team Lovelace defeated The Fitzgerald Team with an Eagle on # 2 as the tie breaker.
1st Place: Team Lovelace – 54
2nd Place – The Fitzgerald Team –  54
Second Flight:  
Winning Score was 61.
First Place: Sandy Spring Bank # 1
Second Place was Team Cardoni (62) with a Birdie on # 2 as the tie breaker.
Prize Holes:
Long Drive Ladies:  Lisa Wynne
Long Drive Men:  Brian Bark
Closest to the Pin:
# 3 – Tara Coates –  11 inches
# 6 – Eric Atellah – 5 inches
# 9 – Dave Green – 3 feet, 2 inches
# 12 – Eric Anderson – 2 feet, 2 inches
# 17 – Lee Egleston – 1 foot, 3 inches
The 50/50 was drawn but not claimed and donated back to First Tee-Howard County.
The gift certificates will be mailed early next week.

New York Life awards Community Impact Grant to The First Tee of Howard County


COLUMBIA, MD, July 17, 2019 – The First Tee of Howard County, which provides youth development programming that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf, announced today that it was awarded a $10,000 Community Impact Grant from New York Life. The grant will support The First Tee’s National School Program and D.R.I.V.E. program, which bring golf and its inherently positive benefits to elementary-aged students in schools and after-school programs through partnerships with Howard County Public Schools and Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. Rob Ugiansky, a board member with The First Tee of Howard County who was instrumental in connecting the nonprofit with New York Life, commented “I am proud to have New York Life join us in our initiative to provide The First Tee’s Life Skills and Healthy Habits curriculum to the youth of Howard County.” In the past year, The First Tee’s National School Program and D.R.I.V.E afterschool program introduced more than 19,500 elementary school students in Howard County schools to the game of golf. This year, the nonprofit plans to reach even more young students throughout the county; the grant from New York Life will enable an additional seven school programs to open, engaging more than 2,500 students. “We are grateful for New York Life’s investment in our National School Program and D.R.I.V.E., which introduce youth to the positive personal and social values associated with golf, a lifelong game and physical fitness activity,” said Don Van Deusen, Executive Director of The First Tee of Howard County. “Without the support from New York Life, we wouldn’t be able to expand these important programs to reach more youth throughout Howard County.” The Community Impact Grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations which are championed by New York Life agents and employees to serve the needs of their local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 500 grants totaling nearly $7 million have been awarded to nonprofits across the country.

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About The First Tee of Howard County The First Tee of Howard County is one of the county’s premier youth organizations, providing life-skills instruction through the game of golf. Founded in 2000 and headquartered at the Fairway Hills Golf Course in Columbia, Maryland, the program is centered on nine core personal values that children aged 5 to 18, put into practice on the golf course, at home, at school and in every aspect of their lives. The First Tee’s Life Skills Experience allows participants to learn valuable lessons such as the importance of maintaining a positive attitude; how to make decisions by thinking about the possible consequences; how to define and set goals; and how to transfer values such as responsibility, honesty, integrity, respect, confidence and sportsmanship from the golf course to everyday life. Sessions are currently offered throughout the year at more than five local courses. For more information, visit www.firstteehowardcounty.org, email [email protected] or call 410.730.1114.

Meet & Greet with Terry Owens

Terry Owens
We are thrilled that board member Terry Owens is chairing this year’s Taste for The First Tee, bringing a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to make this our best Taste yet. Currently the Director of Communications for the District Department of Transportation, Terry was formerly a VP with the Howard County Economic Development Authority and longtime television news personality at WMAR in Baltimore. He has also made time throughout his career to give back to the community, serving on boards for nonprofits including Board of Child Care, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, Center for Urban Families and the Baltimore Association of Black Media Workers. Terry is a graduate of Leadership Howard County and has lived here since 1992, currently as a resident of North Laurel. Both his children are graduates of the public school system and the University of Maryland, College Park.  Terry brings his previous board experience and an ever-growing love of the game of golf to the board. Terry received his BA in Telecommunications from Michigan State University. Terry recently answered a few questions for us about his involvement and this year’s Taste event; read on below for his responses. Q: When did you first get involved with The First Tee of Howard County, and why? A: I joined the board four years ago after graduating from Leadership Howard County. One of the requirements of the program was that individuals find a way a place to serve in the community, and with my passion for kids and golf, The First Tee was a perfect fit. I have always supported worthwhile causes and The First Tee deserves all of the support the community can muster. When I was made aware of the opportunity, it took little convincing to get me involved. Q: What makes the Taste event special? A: The Taste event represents the best of Howard County. Local businesses volunteer their time and their resources, supporters purchase tickets and provide auction items, and the gathering itself provides a wonderful opportunity for some fun and camaraderie. Q: Can guests at the Taste event expect anything new or different this year? A: We are working on some new activities for this year’s event in an effort to make it more appealing to our guests and sponsors. Stay tuned for details!      

2019 Registration Information from Coach Jim

Happy New Year! There will be some subtle changes in registration for 2019 classes beginning with the Spring Session (4/24-6/25 2019). We want you to know about those, and also make a few requests to ease the administrative burden on us and you in registering your children this year. So here are Seven Things That You Should Know:
  1. Schedules are now posted on the Registration Page for all three sessions for planning purposes only. Registration will open on February 2 for all three sessions.
  2. PLAYer and Par classes will be separated. To provide a better product at each level, we have gone back this year to the structure observed by most First Tee chapters, separating the PLAYer (7-8 year old) and Par (9-10 year old) levels. We believe this will be a better and more consistent teaching/learning environment for your participants and our coaches. As has been the case previously, ALL participants 7 or older regardless of age, must start at the PLAYer Level.
  3. Please remember that when you register, your registration is not “Complete” until you have processed your payment (or requested financial aid). If you begin a registration and do not take it through payment within 72 hours, it will be marked “Abandoned” so that it does not deny others who are ready to pay, a chance to register. This is not controlled by us, but by the Salesforce registration software.
  4. Please be judicious in registering your child for ONE class only in each session in which you register. The registration software is not a smorgasbord of alternative registrations. It is a straightforward class list like those used in any school that uses electronic registration. There were entirely too many Cancellations, Abandoned/In Process and re-registrations last year (almost 14%).
  5. There have been some subtle changes in rates this year for TARGET ($65), PLAYer ($100), and Par ($110) levels.
  6. IMPORTANT: For children who will be 12 or older on their first day of class, if this is their initial First Tee experience, we would strongly recommend that they participate in our Rising Teens Class (#150 Spring, #151 Summer, #152 Fall) on Monday evening (ONLY), where they will have an opportunity to complete the first two levels of the program in 8 weeks. Should they fail to complete Par certification, they must enroll for another Par class in the subsequent session. With the split of PLAYer and Par, that means that 12 and olders who cannot make that Monday class will be placed with 7 and olders in a PLAYer class, and while we will do our best to accommodate them, we cannot make any guarantees about advancement beyond the PLAYer level in that session.
  7. The discounts (sibling and military*) will continue in effect.
*The Military Discount will be applied automatically if the Account Holder has identified him/herself as Military when entering a participant for the first time. If you are Active Duty Military and your file is not so annotated, please contact us at 410-730-1114, or via email at [email protected] to have your file updated.

Meet & Greet with Coach Jon Johnson

This month, we connected with Coach Jon Johnson, who recently received the Howard County Recreation and Parks “Good Sports” award for Coach of the Year. Jon is celebrating his 10th year as a coach for The First Tee of Howard County, and although born in Germany while his father was stationed there with the U.S. Army, has lived in Columbia since childhood. He works as an account executive at an IT consulting firm focused on cloud solutions and security. When he’s not coaching golf, playing golf or working, you can find him coaching wrestling, enjoying fantasy football and rooting for the Dallas Cowboys.
Q: When did your love of golf begin?
A: I became interested in golf at a very young age. I was fortunate to have a father who played the game and taught me. The appeal for me was in how difficult the game. I loved being taught how to swing the club and the instant feedback you receive from the results on every swing. No matter how good you get, there is a never-ending quest to get better. Some of my fondest memories in life are of times spent with him on the course.
Q: What is your favorite part of coaching? A: I currently coach in our Target, Player, Par and Birdie levels. There is nothing more fun or gratifying than seeing a kid struggle to hit the ball, and then showing them how to do it and then seeing them light up with joy when they hit a good shot! Though I suppose I would say my favorite part is getting to know the kids, watching them grow up and seeing the great people they become as they move on to high school and college!
Q: What do you think sets The First Tee apart from other youth golf programs?
A: What I think sets the First Tee apart from other youth golf programs is that we are a youth development program. We spend a significant amount of time focusing on not just golf skills, but also life skills and our Nine Core Values (Confidence, Respect, Judgement, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, Courtesy, Honesty, Integrity and Perseverance). While we would love to produce great golfers, we are more focused on producing great young people who love and respect the game.
Q: What piece of advice would you share with other coaches?
A: What I would share with other coaches is that coaching kids is not a one size fits all proposition. All kids don’t respond to or receive coaching in the same way, so it is important to be patient, take time to get to know your kids, and understand their needs and how to motivate or inspire them.

Maryland State Golf Association (MSGA) Scholarship Applications Due August 31, 2018

The Maryland State Golf Association (MSGA) Scholarship was organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including to award educational scholarships to students having completed junior year of high school with a bonafide connection to golf.
Awards/Announcements: The MSGA will award scholarships in the order and in the amount recommended by the Scholarship Selection Committee, although the MSGA has the discretion to decrease the number of scholarships to be awarded. The MSGA will publicly announce the scholarship recipients at the year-end annual banquet. The MSGA will be identified clearly as the grantor of the awards. Each scholarship recipient will be notified of his or her award pursuant to a letter from the MSGA. Eligibility: The scholarship program will be open to those individuals who have provided services as employees and/or their children to MSGA member clubs/courses for a minimum of two (2) years, and/or students who have completed their junior year of high school with a bonafide connection to golf. Scholarship applicants will be evaluated on uniform objective standards. The same application form and evaluation system will be used for all applicants. All applicants must meet the minimum admissions standards of an educational institution (college, university, junior college, or vocational school) and must reasonably be expected to attend such an educational institution. All eligible applicants must be considered without regard to race, sex, religion, or national origin. Selection: The scholarship recipients will be selected by the Scholarship Selection Committee based solely on objective standards related to the purposes of the scholarships. Each applicant must submit a completed application form. Forms must also be completed by the applicant’s school principal, if applicable. The applicants should be evaluated on objective standards such as past academic performance, performance on tests designed to measure ability and aptitude for higher education, the candidate’s class rank, and financial need. Recommendations from instructors or other persons unrelated to the candidate, extra-curricular activities, and leadership contributions should also be considered. The school principal will submit the completed applications (other than the Candidate’s Statement, which will be submitted by the applicant) directly to the Scholarship Selection Committee in care of the MSGA. The MSGA will determine the amount of funds available in the aggregate for scholarships on an annual basis and will notify the Scholarship Selection Committee of the aggregate available amount prior to the Scholarship Selection Committee’s deliberations. The Scholarship Selection Committee will determine the dollar amount to be awarded to each recipient.
For more information regarding the scholarship and to download the application, visit https://msga.org/learn/scholarship-program/. 
We hope that any and all eligible participants of The First Tee of Howard County will apply for this incredible opportunity for college scholarships! Please note that the deadline is approaching — all applications must be received by August 31, 2018.

Meet & Greet with Logan Lurie

This month, we’re catching up with participant Logan Lurie, a sophomore at Howard High who, in addition to playing at the ACE-level, mentors several First Tee classes, takes part in the LPGA e-Leader program, and chairs the Teen Advisory Board.
Q: How long have you been participating in The First Tee? A: I have been a participant for seven years. Q: Do you play any other sports or participate in other extra-curricular activities? A: I am a second year member of the Women’s Varsity Golf Team at Howard High.  I qualified to play in the County and District Tournament this year.  I am also in the Best Buddies Club, the Jewish Student Union club and a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honor Society. In the spring, I will be a mentor for Allied Golf (a program co-sponsored by The First Tee and Howard County School System). Outside of school activities, I am a member of BBG (B’nai Brith Girls), a Jewish youth group.  In the past, I have held a variety of board positions. On the weekend, I work as a Teacher’s Aide at Beth Shalom Congregation Religious School. Q: Tell me about the national opportunities you’ve participated in through The First Tee. A: Last summer I was selected to attend the First Tee National Opportunity: USGA Learning Science through Golf Academy in New Jersey.  During the five days, I worked with USGA engineers and scientists to design, build and test a device to measure green speed, visited the USGA Museum, visited Rutgers University Turf Management program, and had behind-the-ropes access at the LPGA US Womens Open. During the time there, we also met with the USGA interns in accounting, sports management, marketing and advertising to learn all about the different career opportunities in the golf industry.  We also went to Top Golf one evening as an opportunity to interact with the other participants in a fun way.  I met a lot of participants from all over the country and learned about their First Tee chapters. Q: Tell me about your project with The First Tee and Girl Scouts. A: In October, I was selected to attend the Outstanding Participant Leadership Summit (OPLS) in Orlando, FL. When I was accepted as one of the 28 selected, I had also been chosen as one of the top eight finalists for the Outstanding Participant Award.   During my four days, we had sessions with a variety of golf and leadership presenters including the new First Tee CEO, Keith Dawkins; Annika Sorenstam; Steadman Graham; and First Tee alumni who were participating in the First Tee Alumni Summit at the same time.  As a finalist, I was assigned one of the Nine Core Value to speak about at the final night gala.  Former President George Bush gave the opening address and I spoke in front of 1,000+ attendees at the First Tee National Meeting.  As part of the OPLS selection process, a community service project is required. My project is a Girl Scout /First Tee program.  I am developing a golf component to earn the Brownie Girl Scout Fair Play merit badge, which will include a workshop with local Brownie Troops. It will help them complete the steps to earn the badge and expose them to the Life Skills and Nine Core Values of The First Tee. Q: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from your experience with The First Tee? A: The greatest lesson The First Tee has taught me is how to have confidence in my actions. I actually spoke about confidence in my OPLS speech because I think The First Tee has helped me to be so much more confident. When I started The First Tee, I was very much like many young girls I see when mentoring: quiet and intimidated by others. However, through my years in The First Tee, I have been taught confidence in every activity. Starting by having to shake each other’s hands, I have been taught how to not be scared of situations even when they are not familiar. This helped a lot when attending these two national opportunities. I did not really know anyone going into either National event, but with the confidence I have gained from The First Tee, I was able to attend and enjoy both of these opportunities no matter how new the situation was. Q: How do you think being a participant in The First Tee may impact your future? A: Being a participant in The First Tee has taught me the value of volunteerism, which I think I will carry with me into the future. Through the Ace program, I have been mentoring younger classes of students. Seeing younger students enjoy the game of golf as much as I do makes me want to continue mentoring. I spend almost every spring day at the course mentoring, volunteering with the National School Program’s Champion Challenges, and Allied Golf.  Volunteering has helped me to pass on my love for the game to different groups of people, which I find very rewarding. I think because the idea of giving back is such a large part of The First Tee that I will continue volunteering  throughout my lifetime. Q: What would you tell other teens (especially girls) about why they should consider participating in The First Tee? A: I would tell any teen, especially any teen girl, to get involved in The First Tee as fast as they can, no matter their golf experience or age. The First Tee has an impact on your life that no other activity can have on you. The First Tee teaches you and makes you live by Life Skills like Confidence, Perseverance, and Integrity that no other program or sport can. You should definitely consider participating because the national opportunities are an incredible way to meet your next best friends who love the same activities you do and you will make connections with people that you would have never meet. I might be a little biased, but joining The First Tee will probably be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Q: Anything else you would like to share? A: The First Tee has given me a community that I know I will be a part of for the rest of my life. I have seen first-hand how many cool opportunities The First Tee has given me, my sister, and my friends and I hope I can stay involved to help give the same opportunities to help children to come.  I am very thankful for all of the experiences, friendships, and lessons I have gained from this amazing organization and I hope I can continue this program.