Mette Knutzen Age 11
Mette Knutzen Age 11

One-third of young people say they lack adult role models according to research for The First Tee, whose programs help close that gap. Billing itself as “more than a sports program for kids,” the Seattle Chapter of the nonprofit organization is seeking adults – especially women – to serve as part-time Golf and Life Skills coaches. Programs are offered at four locations in King County, with girls now making up about 40 percent of participants.

“The role a coach can play over the course of a season can be life-changing,” said Kimberly Goode, the chapter’s assistant director. “Coaches are at the core of our impressive track record of having an impact on 9 million participants system wide since 1997,” she added.

The position description, posted on the Seattle chapter’s website, outlines the duties and key attributes of Golf and Life Skills coaches. The site also has information on various volunteer opportunities for both youth and adults. Positions range from coaching and mentoring to assisting with events and community outreach.

“Coaches are responsible for guiding and teaching young people to become responsible future citizens and committed, active golfers through the lessons and coaching philosophies of The First Tee Life Skills curriculum,” Goode explained.

Goode said coaches are an integral part of the First Tee’s mission to build character, instill life-enhancing values and encourage healthy choices through the game of golf. “They create the environment necessary for positive youth development while delivering life lessons that distinguish The First Tee experience,” she emphasized.

Jennifer Morrison came to The First Tee wanting to give back to her community by encouraging young people. “What started as a volunteer position eventually turned into a coaching position which I truly enjoy,” says “Coach Jennie,” who works as a technical account manager for Xbox LIVE at Mactus Group.

“The First Tee is important because it’s a program that is open to youth of all backgrounds and affords them the opportunity to play golf,” Morrison commented, adding, “Not only does The First Tee allow children and teens to play golf, but it also teaches them how to become productive members of society through core values such as honesty, integrity and confidence — all qualities that employers admire.”

Independent research shows The First Tee has a positive impact in shaping lives. According to various studies, its programs teach young people valuable life skills including problem solving, managing time, controlling one’s emotions, making friends with diverse peers, working well with others and improving relationships with family and community.

The First Tee, offered in Seattle since 2003, reaches young people ages 5-18 through golf instruction that also incorporates nine core values, nine healthy habits, and a code of conduct. The First Tee network includes 178 chapters located throughout the U.S. and four international locations.

Part-time, seasonal coaches for the Seattle chapter are needed for all four programming seasons, which run from February through October. The First Tee Life Skills programs are offered at four sites and in partnership with more than a dozen allied organizations.

The First Tee, headquartered at World Golf Village in Florida, seeks to make the game of golf affordable and accessible to every child. The youth development program welcomes all young people, but targets those who come from families where household income would ordinarily serve as a barrier to participation. One-third of Seattle’s participants are on full scholarship and do not pay the $199 annual fee due to financial circumstances.

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