Meet & Greet: Coach Khaalis Hall

From left to right: Coach Khalilah Hall, First Tee Master Coach Patty Jordan-Smith, and Coach Khaalis Hall
This month, we’re catching up with Level 1 Coach Khaalis Hall, one of the newest additions to our team here at The First Tee of Howard County, along with his wife and fellow Level 1 Coach, Khalilah.
Q: To start, tell me a bit about your background and family.
A: I’m from NJ, and I moved when I was 22 to join the USAF.  I’m still in the military serving at Fort Meade. I used to live in Alaska, Missouri, England, Germany, and Hawaii. I also did a tour in the Middle East. My favorite hobbies are working out and golf. I have two boys (ages 6 & 8) and have been happily married for 18 years.
Q: When did you first get interested in golf?
A: In 2006, a coworker of mine was an avid golfer and I liked Tiger Woods. He took me to a driving range and I became a fan of the game. The best feeling in the world is hitting with your irons in the sweet spot.
Q: How long have you been coaching?
A: I’ve been coaching for a year at The First Tee of Howard County with the PLAYer/PAR level.
Q: Tell me about some of the most significant lessons you learned from coaching. 
A: Don’t talk so much and let the kids perform. They are here to learn, play, golf and enjoy their peers — not to listen to me give a speech. I’ve learned to teach, demo and get out of the way.
Q: What do you think sets The First Tee apart from other golf programs for kids?
A: Teaching the Nine Core Values and incorporating them life skills puts The First Tee into a league of its own. A kid may not make the LPGA/PGA tour, but they can all learn to better themselves, others who come in contact with them, and their environment wherever they go in life.
Q: What would you tell parents who are considering enrolling their child in the upcoming session?
A: Do it. We are here to make better people through the game of golf, and your child will have the opportunity to mature with his/her social skills. Also, you don’t need to buy clubs — we have plenty your child can use!

Meet and Greet with Coach Stephanie Stoutenborough

The spring 2017 Allied Golf team before practice.
Did you know that The First Tee is a family affair for the Van Deusen family? Our executive director, Don Van Deusen, is also the proud father of our two Allied Golf coaches, Stephanie Stoutenborough and Brian Van Deusen. This month, we’re catching up with Stephanie, a native and current resident of Columbia, about coaching this very special team. When she’s not coaching, the mother of two works as the business manager at River Hill High School.
Q: How and when did you first get involved with The First Tee?
A: I first started with The First Tee about 10 years ago as a coach for the PLAYer level.
Q: When did your interest in golf begin? Coaching?
A: I have been coaching varsity soccer at Atholton High School for 15 years.  I come from a family of coaches, between my dad, Don Van Deusen, and brother, Brian.  Once the Allied Golf Program started in Howard County Public Schools (HCPSS) in 2009-2010, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Q: Tell me about The First Tee’s Allied team.   
A: Allied Sports is a totally inclusive program for high school students that gives students with special needs an equal opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports along-side their non-disabled peers.
Q: What type of background prepared you to be a coach of the Allied team?
A: I worked in the Special Education department at River Hill for seven years before switching positions.
Q: What makes coaching this team rewarding?
A: The most rewarding thing about coaching Allied Golf is seeing the athletes smiles and their excitement when they hit a good shot or sink a putt.
Q: What are some of the biggest surprises you’ve encountered from coaching? Biggest lessons you’ve learned? 
A: The best thing about Allied Golf is that we are giving athletes with various disabilities a chance to learn a sport they may never have thought they could compete in, and with the right coaching and resources, it is amazing to see what they can accomplish.
Q: How have you seen The First Tee benefit Allied participants? 
A: The First Tee paired with HCPSS in 2010 to help kick start the Allied Golf Program.  We use The First Tee Core Values to teach good sportsmanship, positive self-esteem, respect, honesty and responsibility.  The First Tee equipment, such as the snag equipment, gives us the resources we need to work with students of all levels and abilities.
Q: What would you tell parents considering enrolling their child on the Allied team?
A: This program has helped athletes of all ability levels to participate in competitive athletic activities. It allows students athletes with and without disabilities to appreciate the value and strengths of each other as individuals as well as athletes.