First Tee Programs Helping Empower Youth In BC And Across Canada
By Latash Maurice Nahanee
Golf is a game that is both fun and challenging. Golf can be a game of leisure and/or demand the best of a great athlete. One element that differentiates this sport from contact sports such as soccer or football is the etiquette.
“First Tee – British Columbia, is a youth development program offered by Golf Canada that introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to young people. We teach values such as integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf,” says Shayain Gustavsp, Manager, First Tee - British Columbia.
Through after school and in school programs, First Tee – BC instills character development as a fundamental element of Golf Canada’s junior golf program.
“Our mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, promote life-enhancing values and healthy choices through the game of golf, says Gustavsp.
image courtesy VABF STRONGHER
First Tee - BC Program Manager Shayain Gustavsp Helps A Young Golfer At A STRONGHER Event Prior To The Official Launch Of The First Tee
RBC and Golf Canada announced the RBC Community Junior Golf Program, an initiative that will focus on building greater diversity and equity in golf by enabling affordable access to the game for youth in underrepresented communities in Canada. Minority youth do not typically play golf but First Tee - BC hopes to change this story.
As part of the RBC Community Junior Golf Program, Golf Canada will implement the First Tee – Canada and Youth on Course programs at municipal and especially accessible public golf courses across Canada.
By 2023, the program is expected to engage more than 10,000 young people by delivering free First Tee programing, which integrates the game of golf with life skills curriculum and $5 Youth on Course green fees to select courses from coast to coast.
One of the important ways RBC brings its purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper to life is by empowering youth. RBC Future Launch is the bank’s $500 million commitment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, including $50 million in focused funding to create meaningful and transformative pathways to prosperity for 25,000 BIPOC youth by 2025.
image credit First Tee - Canada
“Evolving the participant base of Canadian golf so it matches the diversity of multicultural Canada is an important priority,” said Kevin Blue, Chief Sport Officer of Golf Canada. “We’re eager to partner with RBC to help increase access to junior golf, especially for youth from backgrounds that historically have been underserved.
"By bringing First Tee – Canada and Youth on Course to the most accessible golf courses in Canada, the RBC Community Junior Golf program will help us make sure golf is welcoming to all Canadian youth.”
First Tee is an international youth development organization that introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to children and teens. There are over 150 First Tee Chapters in seven different countries.
First Tee sees golf as a metaphor for life – a game with unexpected challenges and ups and downs that helps build strengths beyond the technical skills to play the game. Through introspective questions, interactive games, and immersive golf exercises, each lesson is designed to help children build a better understanding of themselves and empower them to strengthen the parts of them that they take to everything they do.
image credit First Tee - Canada
What are the core focus areas First Tee is helping children to develop?
The program focuses on helping children develop their character, resilience, self-confidence, and inner strength. Throughout the program, First Tee uses golf to empower this growth while enabling children to learn and play the game.
How does First Tee help to make golf more diverse and accessible?
A specific goal of First Tee – Canada is to increase the accessibility of golf programming for traditionally underrepresented communities. In addition, First Tee Chapters will ensure children are never turned away from picking up the sport of golf due to cost.
Why Should Girls Play Sports Like Golf?
The long-term benefit of girls participating in sports, such as golf, goes beyond the physical and emotional. Playing organized sports as a young female helps create better business women according to a survey by MassMutual Financial Group of 401 executive business women.
First Tee junior golf and life skills programs provide girls with the platform they need to become high-achievers in their personal goals, boost their self-esteem and experience competition in a fun, supportive environment.
About The Writer:
Latash Maurice Nahanee
Latash is a culturally immersed member of the Squamish Nation from Vancouver BC. He has over 25 years of experience working with young people and adults on art, history and cultural projects in the Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Burnaby School Districts. During this time Latash was a Cultural Support Worker and Education mentor. He took an early retirement in 2016 from the North Vancouver School District where he taught Coast Salish art and Culture. He also taught classes on First Nations history in the context of Canada. Latash enjoys working in collaboration with educators and students. He also produces commissioned art for corporations and private collectors. Prior to teaching, Latash worked in public relations and journalism.