The mission of The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas is to impact, influence, and inspire the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf and other enduring character-building activities. All of our golf and youth-development programs focus on The First Tee Nine Core Values™ – Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Responsibility, Courtesy, Confidence, Judgment and Perseverance – using golf and golf etiquette as the context.
In 2018, The Carol S. Petrea Youth Golf Foundation – parent organization of three chapters of The First Tee spanning the coastal Carolinas region – launched a new initiative, “Drive the Future,” to enable sustained growth as it seeks to expand access for its programs and services for young people. As part of this initiative, we integrated our three Branded Program Affiliates (BPAs) – The First Tee of Eastern North Carolina, The First Tee of Brunswick County, and The First Tee of the Grand Strand – into a single, unified organization, The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas. The change was completed on Jan. 1, 2018. The new organization, The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas, retains all existing The First Tee programs and services while designing ways to expand the scope and quality of those programs going forward. The operating territory for The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas includes six coastal North and South Carolina counties of Brunswick, Horry, Georgetown, Craven, Pamlico, and Carteret with a total primary school population of roughly 90,000 youth.
The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas headquarters is located at The Golf Club at Cinghiale Creek in Shallotte, NC, which includes a Tom Watson-designed Par 3 Learning Course, driving range, three-hole loop (Par 3, 4, & 5) and the Carolinas Leadership Academy (CLA), a year-round residential experience teaching leadership skills to teens. The First Tee of Brunswick County, the foundational parent of our six-county chapter, has been in continuous operation since 2008 and The formal unification of our three BPA’s will be the fuel to significantly expand our CLA programs and youth and community participation.
We are primarily a volunteer organization serving 6 counties in Coastal North and South Carolinas. Our 5 full time and 2 part time employees direct the efforts of over 350 volunteers working with over 38,000 participants in our National School Program, School Day Program, and After School Programs. Always The First Tee Nine Core ValuesTM are stressed using golf as the medium.
The Carolinas Leadership Academy is a wonderful venue for The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas’ golf and youth development activities, including our Brunswick County School Day Programs, Champions Challenge event, Little Linksters Program, four-day Summer Camps, three-day Leadership Academy programs, Buddy Tee program for Special Needs youth and various golf and educational activities. Our STEM Field Trip initiative is underway and we expect to conduct a minimum of four STEM Field Trips for middle school students in 2019 utilizing The First Tee’s Physics of Golf and Golf Course Agronomy STEM curriculum.
The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas impacts over 38,000 youth via our various golf and youth development programs:
The First Tee National School Program is active in 54 elementary schools in The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas territory, impacting more than 30,000 students in 2018. NSP is taught by Physical Education teachers as a part of their curriculum with equipment, guidelines and online training provided by The First Tee.
The School Day Program is conducted for fourth and fifth graders in 36 schools in Brunswick, Georgetown and Craven Counties. Nine times per school year, our volunteers work with fourth or fifth grade classes, and their Physical Education teachers, at a green-grass facility during a 60-minute class centered on The First Tee Nine Core Values™, using golf as the medium. Over 3,000 elementary school youth participated in the 2018 School Day Program, although number of program sessions was heavily impacted by Hurricane Florence.
The School Day Program culminates with the Champions Challenge, with separate competitions in Craven, Brunswick and Georgetown Counties. Each of the 39 elementary schools selects a team of 14 fourth graders (7 girls, 7 boys) to compete in a skills challenge, with a total of 434 youth participating in the three events in 2017.
Under the banner of Life Skills Experience Certifying Programs, The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas offers over 20 After School & Saturday programs to provide access to golf, fun and the First Tee Nine Core Values™ for all interested youth, ages 4 to 17 years of age. After School & Saturday programs are now offered at 16 locations with roughly 500 youth attending the Spring and Fall sessions across the territory. There are two entry levels within our program including Little Linksters (4-6 year olds) and PLAYer Level (7- 17 year olds). Our participants progress through various achievement levels – PLAYer, PAR, BIRDIE, EAGLE and ACE – based on their golf, academic and social skills.
The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas also conducts two DRIVE programs (Develop Rewarding, Inspiring Values for Everyone) for Special Needs participants: Special Olympics and Buddy Tee in Brunswick County and a golf program in partnership with the Grand Strand Miracle Leagues.
The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas also has the Harrison Taylor Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is named after a participant who started in our chapter when it was first formed, and tragically passed away in 2016. For the 2018-2019 academic year, we were pleased to award college scholarships to three high school seniors and continue a scholarship for a participant who is entering his senior year of college. This academic year we awarded $8,500 to our four participants. Participants wishing to apply for the Harrison Taylor Scholarship must complete and application with essays and award amount is based on academic achievement, community involvement and family financial need.