FYCCN GoPro Award Arrives

Florida Wildlife Commission Commissioner Gary Nicklaus contacted our Chapter to propose a golf and fishing pilot program. As a professional golfer and avid fisherman, Gary understands that the lakes on golf courses are typically rarely fished. Combining golf and fishing presents an incredible opportunity to bring together two sports that share in outdoor recreation. First Tee – Palm Beaches was recently awarded the Regional Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network 2021 Outstanding Partner Grand Prize Winner. We selected a GoPro camera as our prize, and it recently arrived. Pictured above are members or our Teen Golf Association with the camera and accessories. Look out for new videos!

Veteran Spotlight – Bob Hall

Bob Hall is 78 years old and a veteran of the Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Navy Seabees. Bob also helps us with electrical work at First Tee. You can find him and his wife playing our par 3 course on Sundays.

Stars And Cars

World War II veteran and chapter student Bob Massimini was invited by our Founding Partner, Erin Finnegan, to attend a fundraiser for Operation 300 at The Car Barn in Jupiter, FL. Operation 300 provides mentorship to children of the fallen, honoring the sacrifice of those who have given their all for our freedom. They have promoted patriotism and service in our communities since 2012. Bob served in the United States Navy in World War II at Iwo Jima and is now 95 years old and attends our veterans’ program three times a week.

Chapter Mourns The Loss Of Two Golf Legends

Our Chapter recently lost two dear friends and supporters who knew each other well and loved and respected the game of golf. Richard Ekey (pictured above left) was simply the ultimate grinder. After 14 months in ICU, he was called to the Lord on March 24th. He learned his love of golf from his father and felt compelled to share it with others, including our Chapter students and veterans. Richard was a beacon of hope to many. He was a member of the Christ Fellowship Church, Founder of the Men’s Branch of Triumph over Suffering, Co-founder of the Cancer Support Group of Palm Beach Gardens, Board member of the Big Heart Brigade, Member of the Board of Directors for the Gathering Palm Beach County, Former Officer, Board Member, Chairman and Class of 2000 Hall of Fame Member of the Palm Beach County Golf Association. “Richard was my mentor and one of my closest friends,” said Chapter Executive Director Carl Mistretta. “He was my first volunteer and cut the fairways to help out in my early days before we could afford full-time maintenance staff. Riding the mower was his time for meditation and to speak with the Lord. He pushed our entire staff to raise the bar and become a leading First Tee chapter in the country.” There will be a celebration of life for Richard at First Tee – Palm Beaches in Dyer Park for Richard this Friday, April 23rd at 6:00pm. Please contact [email protected] for more information. Larry Bush (pictured above right), covered golf in Palm Beach County for more than six decades, died in his sleep on March 19th at the age of 87. The longtime West Palm Beach resident started working for the Palm Peach Evening Times in 1958. Bush also worked for newspapers in Tampa, Fort Pierce and Cocoa before becoming a freelance writer in 1981. If there was a local golf tournament in the county, Bush was invariably there covering it. His knowledge, history and perspective of the game made him a favorite among golfers, from legends such as Jack Nicklaus to the average amateur or PGA Professional. His work was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America, the Florida Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, the Florida Press Association, and he also received the Harry C. Eckhoff Award from the National Golf Foundation. Mr. Bush was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, and into the Palm Beach County Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

Chapter Students Staci, Wylie And Tyler Secure Victories

Staci Pla (pictured above left) shot 78-73=151 for a four-shot victory to win the Girls 11-14 year old Junior World Qualifier at Country Club at Ocala. She qualified for the 2021 IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships at Torrey Pines. 2020 SFPGA Prep Tour Player of the Year Wylie “Coyote” Inman (pictured above middle) won a Challenge Tour event with a score of 72-72=144 for a six-shot win at Crane Watch. With an early win this season, the Coyote has officially moved up to the Champions Tour. Can he win on two SFPGA tours in the same year? 2020 SFPGA Champion Tour Player of the Year Tyler Mistretta (pictured above right) won the North Palm Beach Country Club Men’s Championship with a score of 79-73=152. He defeated four-time defending champion Jeff Egizio in a one-hole playoff. Tyler currently holds both the North Palm Junior and Club Championship titles.

Club Drives – Thank You Ladies!!

It is that time of year. Club Drives are in progress all over Palm Beach County to support our Chapter. The ladies of The Country Club of Florida, St. Andrews Country Club and Banyan Golf Club recently conducted successful Club Drives and fundraisers.
Country Club of Florida The Country Club of Florida held a 9-hole ladies golf event with proceeds benefitting our girls’ programs. Over $5,500 was raised and lots of clubs were donated. Special thanks to member Sherry Fleming for assisting with the coordination.
Banyan Golf Club Chapter alumna and our Program and Marketing Coordinator, Emily Valentine, was invited to Banyan Golf Club to attend the ladies closing lunch and accept over $1,700 in donations and a big pile of donated clubs and equipment. Special thanks to member Sue Epstein for helping with this year’s Club Drive and fundraising.
St Andrews Country Club St. Andrews Country Club Ladies Golf Association held a 9-hole event fundraiser and a Club Drive in February raising over $1,300 dollars and collecting a haul of clubs and bags. Special thanks to Golf Professional Terry Farino, PGA for organizing the event.
  Huge SHOUT OUT to the ladies at these three clubs as they have been long time supporters of our girls’ programs. Our students sincerely appreciate their generosity. Interested in hosting a Club Drive? Please contact Chapter Development Director David Trout, PGA at [email protected]

Join Us For Summer Camps

Weekly summer camps allow participants ages 6 to 18 to learn First Tee life skills through the game of golf. Camps are offered at golf courses located throughout Palm Beach County. Please visit our website for locations and to register your children.

Quick 9: Victor Caliguri

Victor Caliguri, First Tee – Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky

1. What does “showing up to others” mean to you?

Showing up to others means being the bigger person. Being the bigger person in any situation you face. You face many hardships in life and you have to be the bigger person to overcome those conflicts. Showing up to others is a way of showing maturity and proving to people that you are capable of doing whatever task you take on.

2. How do you show up for your friends?

I show up for my friends by trying to be the smarter person. Making the right decisions and helping them go down the right path. My friends can also help me keep going down the right path if I start to make wrong decisions. No matter what the circumstance is, I will always be there for them.

3. How do you show up for your family?

I show up for my family by trying to be supportive. Being supportive in a family is everything because we all need each other. A family is everyone working together to be the best people they can be and loving each other as you do it. I show up by listening to them and trying to help them with anything they need.

4. How do you show up for your community?

I love to volunteer for my community. Helping the needy is always a blessing and I really enjoy it. Seeing the smile you put on peoples faces always makes my day. Showing up for your community isn’t just helping people. You can help the environment by picking up others trash and trying to make the world we live in a clean place.

5. How do you feel after helping others?

I love helping others. I always feel accomplished as if I did what I wanted to do. I feel happy that I was able to make someone’s day easier. When they show their appreciation for you after you help them it feels even better. 

6. How do you mentally prepare to show up for your role?

I tell myself that I can do whatever I am about to do and go into everything confident. Having a bad mentality about something is never a good start. Being confident in myself makes me know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to no matter what the role is.

7. What impact has it made on your life when someone has been there for you?

Having someone to turn to when times are tough is crucial for me. I always love when my friends take time out of their days to listen to me and what I have going on. It has made me realize that when I take my time to listen to their problems it definitely makes them happier because it sure does when they do it. 

8. What does it feel like when someone is there for you?

It makes me feel loved and welcomed. Having someone always there is a great gift and I’m so grateful for that. I try to be that person that anyone can turn to because I will always take time out of my day to help people because that’s what makes me happy.

9. What have you learned through First Tee about showing up for others?

I learned that showing up for others can teach others very valuable lessons. Being the bigger person can lead those people around you to get out of their shell and show up for others. Don’t be afraid to take action because when you do that it will help everyone with you be more confident and you will all learn from it. 

Coach Megan Parayno

Megan Parayno, a Recognized First Tee Coach, began her First Tee career in 2014. For the past 7 years she’s been working to inspire and empower kids and teens, first as a lead coach for First Tee — Monterey County and now as the Program Director for First Tee — Fresno. In her free time, Megan follows her passion of being a self-proclaimed “sneakerhead and reseller” and is ready to be able to return to her weekly bowling leagues once it’s safe to do so. Coach Megan grew up in Fresno, CA and attended Cal State University Monterey Bay on a golf scholarship, majoring with a B.S. in Kinesiology. After graduating in 2016, she moved back to Fresno to take on the role of Program Director.  “It was a perfect opportunity to give back to the community that gave so much to me when I was growing up.” Since returning to Fresno, Megan has earned a Master’s in Sports Administration from Fresno Pacific University. “My favorite part of being a coach is building relationships.  Being able to see them grow up and watch them mature and become a mentor to younger kids is why I love coaching. On a personal note, I was able to witness my sister, Lauren, play the PURE Insurance Championship, be her chaperone, and watch how her game has developed over the years.” Coach Megan knows the importance of showing up for others and giving back to her family, friends, community and participants. “I had a First Tee parent come to me and she mentioned that her daughter was looking to speak with someone who related to her. Her daughter was struggling with finding herself.  All it took was a couple hours hitting golf balls on the range to show her that First Tee is a safe place for her to talk.  I had the ability and the resources to relate to her and understand what she is going through and took that time to “show up” for her. Coach Megan is giving her participants opportunities to show up in their community and learn the importance and impact of giving back. 

Claire Alford Impacts a Community

For some, golf may be just a game. For us, it’s an avenue in which kids and teens discover the confidence and inner strength inside of them and learn to bring that to everything they do. One of the ways we cultivate this, is by encouraging youth to understand the value and importance of helping those around them. In your community, within your family or school, the world is in need of game changers who will show up for others. Claire Alford, from First Tee – Central Coast, is a game changer who, with the help of her school club, started the first Community and Health Resources Fair.  “Our goal was to provide vital health resources to the students at our school. My family is part of Santa Maria’s 74% Hispanic population, as counted by the US Census Bureau. At school I see how most of my peers rely on the federal free lunch program to get meals every day. By founding the Culture Community and Cuisine Club and creating the health fair, my brother and I helped bring health screenings and support to our peers.” She could tell you that this is no small feat. Claire and her brother attended daily meetings and phone calls with school administrators and the community providers to ensure the event was a success. Due to the diverse population in the community, students struggle with a variety of issues that are often ignored. Community partners were present at the event to establish a safe environment for all students at the school.  “The most rewarding part of the day was seeing my classmates connect with services they needed. My life goal is to expand access to basic health evaluations and treatment to other rural towns in the same way that the First Tee has spread access to the life changing game of golf.” We are proud of kids and teens, like Claire, that selflessly give their time to care for those around them and exemplify the values taught at First Tee. We can’t wait to see how she continues to work towards her goals in the future.

Quick 9: Showing up for Others

Emma Laker, First Tee — Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky

1. What does “showing up for others” mean to you?

Showing up for others means that you are there for someone when they need you. You show kindness by helping others and not just thinking of yourself. You give people the respect they deserve.

2. How do you show up for your friends?

I show up for my friends by being there when they need me. One of my friends lost her mom and just by being there made her feel better and that everything was going to be okay.

3. How do you show up for your family?

I show up for my family by helping out around the house and making it easier on my parents. I realize how hard they work so that we can go to a Catholic school. I show them how thankful I am by trying hard with my schoolwork and doing my best I can.

4. How do you show up for your community?

I show up for my community by serving at my church and helping at my school. I helped at the After School Program by helping kids with their homework. I also volunteer at the Brighton Center around Christmas time by donating to families in need.

5. How do you feel after helping others?

I feel amazing. I realize how extremely lucky and blessed I am to have all of the love and  support  of my family and friends. When I am  helping others I feel like I am giving them some of my joy and happiness.

6. How do you mentally prepare to show up for your role (coach, student, parents etc)?

I show up for my role by being confident. I make sure that I have practiced as much as possible. I always make sure that I persevere and keep going no matter what. Whether good or bad I’ve tried my best and that’s all I can do.

7. What impact has it made on your life when someone has been there for you?

It shows me that I am surrounded by friends and family that love me no matter what. I can look up to my friends and family to help me through the rough times.

8. What does it feel like when someone is there for you?

It feels like I am loved. I have people who I can count on. It feels really good to have people in my life who can be there for me.

9. What have you learned through First Tee about showing up for others?

I  have learned  to  use the  core values. I have learned to  respect  others and my surroundings. I have also learned to  use responsibility while  on  the golf course. Using the Core Values allows us to show up for others.

Veterans Spotlight – John Hartwell

John Hartwell is 71 years old and served in the Army. John started in our First Tee veterans’ program this winter at Jensen Beach Golf Club. He has been playing golf for 10 years and is originally from Connecticut. “I truly can’t believe how great they treat the veterans down here in Florida,” said John. “We are very lucky to have great First Tee coaches and golf courses that are so generous to host us.”