Character-building, education and life skills: these are the key tenets of The First Tee®, a non-profit youth development organization that uses golf to teach leadership skills to young people. And John Deere has announced its extended commitment to the organization through 2021.
Through after-school, in-school and summer programs, The First Tee shapes the lives of young people through life skills training and the game of golf. Its curriculum reinforces values like honesty, integrity, respect and perseverance while developing skills like managing emotions, goal-setting, conflict resolution and communication.
First Tee programming has a proven track record. Third-party research of program participants and alumni credits the organization for better performance in school and more charitable community donations.
Ninety-one percent of alumni engaged in community service while in The First Tee and 72% continued after their time in the program ended, while more than 80% of teens and alumni say the program helped them become a better student. Since its inception in 1997 through 2015, more than 12.2 million young people have participated in First Tee programs.
The First Tee
The First Tee's mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
The First Tee
From 2017 through 2021, John Deere’s support will focus on community service and volunteerism, leadership skills for girls, and program support of The First Tee activities in select communities.
“Over the next five years, this initiative will encourage and recognize young people who take an active role in preparing for their future and serve the communities where they live,” said Mara Downing, director of corporate citizenship and global brand management at Deere & Company and president of the John Deere Foundation.
A nationwide contest in the U.S. will demonstrate the influence of leadership skills gained through community service and volunteerism with The First Tee. Program participants, age 14 to 18, will be invited to submit a written essay for the opportunity to win a $5,000 college scholarship, plus the chance to be a VIP guest and pro-am participant in 2017 at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Essays will focus on how students are a “Power for Good” through service to their communities and how their work is connected to the values learned through The First Tee and the game of golf. The contest will launch later this year.
An event for girls focused on developing leadership skills within the context of the game of golf will be held in conjunction with LPGA-USGA Girls Golf in a selected community of The First Tee. The winner of the national essay contest will be celebrated at this event, which will be the first-ever event for The First Tee to focus on leadership skills and golf awareness for a female-only audience.
The John Deere Foundation will also provide funding to further develop The First Tee chapters in select John Deere home communities, including the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; and Cary, N.C.
“Our team is thrilled to stand alongside John Deere to highlight the core values learned through involvement with the great game of golf,” said Jennifer Weiler, senior vice president and chief development officer at The First Tee. “We are encouraged by companies like John Deere who believe the seeds of leadership are sown at a young age and that programs such as The First Tee help the next generation learn, grow and succeed.”