participant spotlight

A Week to Remember

Unlike most 14 year-old boys, Ben Fencl didn’t spend his whole summer break going to the pool with friends or seeing action movies.  Instead, he learned how to be a leader in his community.

Ben was one of 96 participants selected from across the country to attend the 2017 First Tee Life Skills and Leadership Academy (LSLA) in East Lansing, Mich.  Participants were required to be at least 14 years of age, and were selected based on their golf skills, etiquette, and character demonstrated both on and off the golf course.

In late July, Ben attended the week-long leadership academy and enjoyed the variety that the program offered, as well as the friendships made along the way.

“On the first night, our group came up with adjectives for everyone that started with the first letter of our first name,” said Ben. “‘Bouncy’ became my nickname for the week, because I love moving around and never sit still.”

Ben described each day of the academy as different.  While the majority of time was spent on the golf course, other lessons were focused entirely on life skills.

“On certain mornings, speakers came to the dorms to teach lessons on life skills before we headed to the course,” said Ben.  “Probably the best thing that I learned that week was not to be afraid of failure, but instead, to learn from it, stay determined, and continue to try.”

In addition to daily lessons, participants also spent time getting to know each other and attending social outings.  During the evenings, they had the opportunity to play putt-putt, go bowling, and attend a minor league baseball game.

“I really liked meeting so many new people,” said Ben.  “I’m really looking forward to becoming more involved with other First Tee participants at home and hopefully teaching them some of the games that I learned that week.”

Ben will be a freshman this fall at North Central High School and a member of the men’s golf team.  With his newfound leadership and desire to help others succeed, we are sure to hear more about ‘Bouncy’ in the near future.