March 2, 2013
A development program that uses golf to teach kids valuable life skills could no longer receive funding help from the city of Charlottesville.
At a young age, some kids pick football while others may pick basketball, but in Albemarle County, more than 500 kids picked golf thanks to The First Tee of Charlottesville program.
"Over the seven years, not only have I seen children getting better at playing golf, I've seen them become better people just in general," said Barbara Ann Boyce, a long-time volunteer for First Tee.
First Tee is a youth development program that teaches kids the life and leadership skills they need through the game of golf. This year, the city of Charlottesville has proposed cutting the program's funding. Since McIntire Park is no longer up for grabs, they're hoping to make a plan to keep it all going.
"The problem is that we've just grown so much, so now we're trying to find a place, like a practice course for kids. So the foundation is trying to raise money to do that, so we can continue to serve the children in Charlottesville and Albemarle County," Boyce said.
First Tee has brought golf into physical education classes at Albemarle schools. Nancy Markos has seen the excitement first-hand.
"It's kind of like a karate chop to try and hit it at first, but no, you have to bring it back slowly. And so we work on that and then they see the success when the do the correct swing and then the success with the ball," said Nancy Markos, the facilitator of health, physical education and family life for Albemarle County.
Watching kids grow, learn and give back to the community is what will push the First Tee Foundation to figure out what to do about alternative funding.
"We have coaches actually graduate out of the golfers program and come to us as coaches for the development program, which is really great," said Boyce.