Congratulations are in order for Clare Bowen, an ACE-level participant with First Tee-Howard County, on her acceptance to this year’s First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. in Philadelphia this month. Clare was selected through a competitive application process to participate in this opportunity that includes 47 other First Tee participants from chapters across the country.
“For a few years now I have known players that have gone to academies so when the oppurtunity arose for me to apply to Game Changers I jumped at it. The idea of going away to meet other First Tee kids from around the country and bring back new ideas that will only improve our chapter and local community was something I couldn’t pass up, especially when I found out the main focus was going to be diversity and inclusion.”
First Tee teens attending this five-day learning and empowerment academy will participate in critical conversations around issues of identity, racism, equity and empathy. The event will feature engaging and interactive workshops facilitated by RISE, a national nonprofit and leader in the sports community championing social justice and working to improve race relations. The workshops will be paired with introspective activities and reflections led by our nationally trained First Tee coaches and keynote speakers from the sports industry including Philadelphia native and PGA TOUR Chief Legal Officer, Len Brown. First Tee – Greater Philadelphia will host the teens for golf outings at John F. Byrne Golf Course where they will continue to build upon their connections with other participants from around the country and hear different perspectives from their peers. The Academy builds throughout the week into a final outreach project in Philadelphia. “Clare has been a model participant in our program, and it comes as no surprise that she took the initiative to apply for this opportunity where she’ll explore critical topics like diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Don Van Deusen, First Tee-Howard County executive director. The Game Changers Academy recognizes retired First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., carrying his passion for social justice through an event to empower participants to be game changers in their community. A rising senior at Wilde Lake High School, Clare has been involved with First Tee for nearly ten years, and currently mentors younger participants at the chapter as part of her ACE level experience. We look forward to catching up with Clare after she returns from the Game Changers Academy!