participant spotlight



In late February, two of our First Tee participants, Jacey Cornett and Wynne Aldrich, were selected to compete in the Golf to Paradise First Tee Champions Challenge hosted by The First Tee of Naples/Collier. An invitation-only tournament that tied into the PGA Senior Tour event the Chubb Classic, ten chapters across the country selected two participants to compete in a three day, 27-hole tournament.

With nearly 20 years of combined First Tee experience, Jacey and Wynne have learned how to lead by example. Through The First Tee, both have attended camps that developed their leadership skills on and off the course. At their first experience on a national scale, Jacey and Wynne set the bar high for future Indiana participants, as they finished the tournament in a tie for third place.

The Champions Challenge was a unique experience from which the girls took away many memories. When asked what she enjoyed about the experience, Jacey said “It was really exciting for me to meet other girls my age that share the same passion for the game as I do! I also met my partner Wynne for the first time and now we are really good friends!” Wynne had a similar response and highlighted how the format gave her the opportunity to work on her teamwork skills. From a night at the beach with their fellow players, to a presentation delivered by Fred Funk, The First Tee of Naples/Collier delivered an unforgettable four days for Jacey and Wynne!


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.