In February, I highlighted the opportunities some of my junior students were able to experience during the Honda Classic as a result of their involvement in my First Tee program. It is a tremendous honor to be able to refer my students to participate in these events.
Just yesterday, Joshua Kaiser, 14, served as one of two ambassadors during a fundraiser at The Banyan Golf Club. He was assigned to the 13th hole (165 yards, Par 3), where he challenged each of the players to beat his tee shot. It was a great opportunity for Josh to practice his approach shots while building awareness for First Tee.
Last month, Mateo Muñiz,10, was asked to play in the Raymond Floyd Open at the Palm Beach Par 3, another First Tee fundraiser. He and 2 other First Tee players were part of a 5-person team that ultimately tied for 1st place but lost the scorecard tie breaker. Mateo's putting was a key reason the team did so well.
These fundraisers make it possible for the local First Tee to offer several national opportunities with strict eligibility requirements. Golfers must be invited to apply. Once they have completed a very lengthy application, their entries will be reviewed by a panel at headquarters.
One such opportunity is the John Deere Drive Your Future Academy which is an all-girls event that focuses on learning the value and impact of volunteerism, understanding the significance of values and skills learned through playing the game of golf, and recognizing the importance of building a strong network.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Jayda Dookie, 17, is one of only 24 girls nationwide that was selected to attend this year's event in San Francisco. I have been her coach for over five years and I can truly say that this honor is well-deserved.