I believe giving back is one of the greatest life lessons we can teach our children: that the world isn't all about them and that, through our actions, people will really discover what kind of person we truly are.
Gretchen Carlson - Journalist, Author and TV Commentator
We raise our children in golf - golf lessons, swing coaches, performance psychologists, tournaments all over the place ...... A junior golfer in this world can almost be forgiven for thinking that the world truly does revolve around him or her. But if we break through the bubble, the stress of a practice schedule and achieving performance objectives is insignificant to the stress of merely trying to survive experienced by many unfortunate people and animals living all over the world in troubled and impoverished circumstances.
Athletes are in the unique position of having a platform by which to influence others to help, and many use this position to do a lot of good. Professional Golf - both the institutions (PGA Tour, USGA, LPGA etc) and the players and their wives are very involved in charitable giving. In fact to the tune of almost $4 billion annually - and more so than any other professional sports body. Tiger Woods created the Tiger Woods Foundation in 1996 which helps underprivileged minority students to be successful in school and beyond. Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott also have Foundations heavily invested in childhood education. Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade devote resources to at-risk children around Rhode Island, Bubba Watson supports, among other initiatives, The First Tee of NW Florida, Fresh Start and the Ronald McDonald House. Jordan Speith's Foundation serves special needs youth, junior golf, provides support to military vets and helps fight pediatric cancer.
We are raising the next generation of athletes. Some will find great success as professional golfers. Others might have burned out or moved on to other pursuits by High School. Regardless of how much time, effort and money we devote to junior golf - we do our kids a disservice if we don't help them to look outside of themselves and give them the opportunity of learning to contribute in a meaningful way to their community.
Volunteering helps kids build self-esteem and provides a greater understanding and perception of other people's lives and challenges. It fosters empathy, understanding and compassion.
We want to put some ideas out there for how kids can help in the community and also showcase what junior golfers are currently doing which junior golfers around the country might like to participate in.
General Opportunities for Kids to Start Contributing Towards the Community
- Get in touch with a local food pantry. Can they help pack lunches in school holidays? Hold a food drive for items needed?
- Create blessing bags for homeless people. Here is an example.
- Visit an animal shelter and play with and socialize the cats.
- Hold a bake sale and donate the proceeds to a charity of the child's choosing.
- Collect charitable contributions instead of gifts at a birthday party.
- Speak to fellow junior golfer friends and collect golf balls and equipment for a local "The First Tee" chapter. Here is an interview that junior golfer, Connor Macmillan, did with The First Tee Atlanta about what they do and how people can help them.
Junior Golfer Charitable Initiatives
Rob's Rescues Inc
Robbie has been an advocate for shelter animals since 2014 and Rob's Rescues is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It's easy for kids to help shelter animals. Take a selfie with a shelter animal and write a paragraph about the animal, send it to Rob, and your child's journalism will go out on his web site and social media and help get the animal adopted - or at least generate awareness for animals in need.
Peggy Kirk Bell Award Recipients
Every year at the US Kids Junior Golf World Championship a special award is given to a junior golfer who has shown outstanding philanthropic initiative: The Peggy Kirk Bell Award. Peggy Kirk Bell is widely considered to be one of the founders and catalysts of women’s golf in America. Peggy played professionally and won the Titleholder’s Championship in 1949. She is best known for her dedication to teaching the game of golf to women, and in 2002, she became the first woman inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame. Since 2007 US Kids Golf has presented the Peggy Kirk Bell Award to one young golfer that has demonstrated outstanding philanthropy and inspiration through their efforts on and off the golf course.
Here are a few causes inspired and established by Peggy Kirk Bell winners:
Past winners have been young humanitarians that have, inter alia:
- Raised considerable amounts of money for:
- Building homes and helping poor students in Haiti and Jamaica.
- Providing equipment and toys to impoverished local schools and community centers
- Helping people struggling with cancer.
- Underserved kids to be introduced to the game of golf.
- Acted as Mentors for school children in elementary schools and local Boys & Girls Clubs.
- Helped establish Foundations and Charitable Organizations to:
- Help sponsor birthday parties for underprivileged kids.
- Provide financial aid for non-medical costs associated with limb-saving surgery and rehabilitation. (the Paley Foundation / Unlimbited.org)
AJGA Leadership Links
The AJGA has a great program that encourages junior golfers to become involved in helping their communities. The AJGA Leadership Links helps kids impact their community and help others. Since 2009, more than 3,800 juniors have volunteered over 50,000 hours and raised more than $4 million for charity.
What Does Your Junior Golfer Do?
Does your junior golfer already have a passion for helping others and an initiative they are already involved in? Let us know by using the Contact Box below this article. We will include it on this page under "Junior Golfer Charitable Initiatives" and invite other junior golfers to participate and be inspired too.