2017 The First Tee Life skills and Leadership academy in East Lansing, Michigan

What a great week in Michigan for The First Tee Life skills and Leadership academy in East Lansing on the campus of MSU. We had 2 awesome participants that were selected to go along with myself being one of the color group leader. Here is Caroline’s and Dana’s experience below:

Caroline Wales     2017  Life skills and Leadership Academy

I’d like to thank the First Tee of the Coachella Valley for sending me to the Leadership Academy at Michigan State University.  It was truly a great experience.  I had the opportunity to meet new people from all over the country. It was a great learning experience to be able to work with coaches from different places. Living in a dorm and spending time on the university campus was really neat!  I also enjoyed playing some different courses.

One of my favorite parts about the academy was the people I got to meet. I made many new friends. I hope to continue interacting with my friends through social media. Having activities at night was a great way to bond with them.

I liked meeting different coaches and learning from them both on the course and in the classes. They were very positive and we got to practice fun drills and games. The classes were interesting.  I think what they talked about will be something I can use in the future. We learned about financial literacy and planning for the future.

A really neat part of the academy was being on a college campus. The nighttime activities were really fun. We got to go bowling, mini golf on a real course, go to a baseball game, and an all night lock in.

The courses we played were nice. We had the opportunity to play and practice at the facility of the Michigan State Golf Team. I liked how we were able to practice and play each day. This gave me the opportunity to practice my skills before going on the course or practicing the skills I saw I needed to work on after playing.  Being able to practice and play for three days and then getting the chance to show my hard work at the tournament was really helpful.  I ended up shooting my best score- 77! I also liked how each day we played with a different group of people on the course.  I enjoyed being in our color groups because we got to spend time with and bond with a smaller group.

Dana Condon               2017  Life skills and Leadership Academy

Having the opportunity to travel not only to West Palm Beach Florida, but Michigan State University as well has been amazing experiences that I will never forget. The First Tee has so many wonderful opportunities for participants to take advantage of, and has truly benefited me both on and off the golf course.

    The first academy I had the chance of attending was the College Prep. This was a week long camp hosted at Keiser University in Florida for teens to discover and learn about the life of collegiate athletes. There were multiple 18 hole rounds where players had to keep their physical and mental games strong. In addition to this, we had the opportunity to visit the Florida Institute of Performance and workout, an additional way to help boost our stamina on the course. Fun team building activities were also put in place, which helped our small group bond and form amazing relationships between fellow competitors and coaches. We played at the Bear’s Club, Seagate Country Club, Palm Beach Par-3, Jupiter Hills and even had the chance to visit the ESPN station nearby. It was a super busy, but fun week. Daily reflections, purposeful practice and drills helped raise my game to a higher echelon of golf during this academy, helping me become more comfortable and excited to play college golf.

    The Leadership Academy in Michigan included many rounds of golf, but focused more on how to become a great leader in all aspects of life. This was an amazing experience for me to improve my interpersonal skills and build my confidence as a student, athlete and volunteer coach. The RISE Leadership seminar, 220 Youth Leadership summit and Financial Literacy presentation all helped contribute to improving my social development. These speeches also allowed me to start thinking about about my future and how I can make a positive impact on the people around me. During the week I had the opportunity to play at Forest Akers Golf Course (owned by Michigan State) and Walnut Hills Golf Club. Our group also had a little fun by bowling at Spartan Lanes on the Michigan State campus, attending a Lansing Lugnuts Baseball Game and played at the Little Hawk Putting Course. The Life Skills and Leadership Academy was an amazing way to meet First Tee participants from different chapters and now I am able to connect and share ideas with friends from across the United States. Both academies were jammed-pack with fun activities and I appreciate how well they were run. I enjoyed both equally in every aspect, from practicing difficult shots on the course, to discussions with our group leaders on how our voice has the ability to impact the communities around us.

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