The First Tee of Greater Seattle Programs
At the heart of The First Tee program is The First Tee Life Skills Curriculum. A child begins The First Tee Life Skills Experience as young as 7 years old. During the introductory level, this child gains basic golf skills and etiquette. In the process, she masters the interpersonal skills of the curriculum: "Meeting and Greeting," "How to Learn While Having Fun," and "Setting a Personal Par." This is done through the hands-on learning experiences the golf course presents. As this child develops, she progresses to the intermediate level which focuses on goal setting skills. There she learns lessons on "Dreams vs. Goals," " How to Create a Goal Ladder," and how to have confidence while dealing with challenges. In the advanced level, a student learns conflict resolution and leadership skills, how to create and be a part of a "Go-To" team, how to "Appreciate Diversity," and "Prepare for the Future," and "Wellness for Life." Using the engaging avenue of golf, The Life Skills Curriculum is equipping kids with the tools to dream big, to achieve their goals, and make an impact on their community.Our goal is to take cost away as a barrier to any child who wishes to participate. We partner with a number of social service agencies to ensure we are meeting this goal. One-third of the participants we currently serve receive full scholarships to participate in programming.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The work of The First Tee is to equip kids with the strong character that will pave the way for their leadership in the community throughout their lives. Through The First Tee Life Skills Curriculum, The First Tee is engaging kids in a conversation about their decision making skills, dreams and goals, and their ability to manage emotions through a game that doesn't just ask them to learn about character but demands they grapple with it through the individual challenges the game provides. As a result of our work, we hope children define themselves, their aspirations, and their achievements by a new criterion: their moral fiber.
We are already seeing changes in our community as a result of our work in education. The University of Virginia conducted a study of the impact of the Life Skills Curriculum. Studies found that 90% of kids in The First Tee program are able to transfer the skills of the program to school, home, and other areas of their lives and 90% are able to retain the lessons they learn from The First Tee over time. Researchers also found that kids in The First Tee had greater confidence in their academic competence, stronger conflict-resolution skills, goal setting skills, and self-efficacy to resist peer pressure than their peers. Through studies conducted by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, we know we are meeting our mission as well. After just 6 weeks in The First Tee, 74% of parents noticed an increase in their child's willingness to take on responsibility, 66% of parents noticed an increase in their child's social skills, 76% of parents saw a boost in confidence, and 52% of parents saw an increase in their child's grades.