Spirit Airlines recently presented our chapter with a $2,000 check to fund our Special Olympics program. Thank you to Chapter Director Laurie Villa, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Spirit, for in assisting with the funding for this program. The program will run nine consecutive weeks on Saturdays at the Grand Palms Hotel-Spa & Golf Resort in Pembroke Pines. Nine athletes, ages 18 and up, were introduced to First Tee with hopes to train and compete in the Special Olympics golf competitions in the Fall. Golf clubs were provided for those who needed them. Athletes also each received two sleeves of golf balls. First Tee Recognized Coaches Robert Ferzoco and James Rondeau are teaching the program along with Special Olympics Nova Agency Coordinator Greg Mingo.
Steve Greenstein – Volunteer of the Year Steve has been volunteering for 18 months with our chapter and is currently assisting with Coach Hector at Cooper Colony Country Club. Steve originally began volunteering two years ago when he came out as a participant in our Mission United Veterans golf classes. “Steve has a heart of gold and a desire to give of his time and talents,” said Jack Bloomfield, Chapter Director of Operations. “We are fortunate to have Steve on our volunteer team.”
Charles Schmidt, 77 years old was in the United States Air Force. Charles has been playing golf 50 years and has been involved with First Tee for 6 years. “The First Tee has provided an amazing program for our veterans’ community to learn and play better golf. Our thanks go out to the numerous pros and staff who have volunteered their time and expertise. It has been a rewarding experience to meet our fellow vets and to encourage each other in this wonderful game.” This program is made possible because of a generous grant from the Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., Foundation.
First Tee – Broward began a new golf program with the Divine Academy of Broward, a school serving students with special needs. This Program will run 9 weeks at the Divine Academy of Broward in Hollywood. Students ages 11-19 were introduced to the game golf and the First Tee Nine Core Values and Healthy Habits with SNAG (Starting New at Golf) golf clubs, targets and tennis balls. First Tee Recognized Coach Robert Ferzoco is teaching the program with help from Divine Academy staff members – Brendan Barnard, Miss Santana, and Miss Roxana.
The Rees Jones 9-hole par three course at Coral Ridge Country Club provides for a sensational venue for our annual Corporate Challenge each year. We are so appreciative to the members and staff at Coral Ridge for hosting this fun event. Thank you to Gunther Motor Company for being our presenting sponsor and congrats for winning the tournament and defending your title (pictured above left: Joe Gunther, PJ Healey, Jay Gunther, James Gunther). The event was played by foursomes representing nine companies and raised $18,000 to support our children and veterans. The winner takes the trophy to display for the year at their company. First Tee participants and veterans were our guest speakers at the reception after the golf. Additional SHOUT OUT to American Social for being the dinner sponsor, Chapter Director and Tax Partner Adam Spiegel at BDO USA for sponsoring the golf carts and Chapter Director Laurie Villa from Spirit Airlines for sponsoring the green fees.
Thank you to First Tee – Broward students Jasiah Bowie, Natalie Sosa, and Lily Celentano for hitting shots that the teams could use to improve their scores!
Weekly summer camps allow participants ages 6 to 18 to learn First Tee life skills through the game of golf. Intermediate and advanced camps also being offered! Camps are offered at golf courses located throughout Broward County. Please visit our website for locations and to register your children. Camp locations include: Cooper Colony Country Club Grand Palms Hotel – Spa & Golf Resort (*also available-Advanced Elite Training Program)
Rebecca Caimano, Assistant Executive Director, has been coaching with First Tee — Greater Philadelphia since 2011. Coach Rebecca started golfing at a young age and has a passion for introducing girls to the game. “Growing up playing golf I never imagined being in the golf industry. It was tough being the only female who played golf.” Having positive mentors and role models is important for all kids and teens. At First Tee, we provide a safe place for all youth to grow, learn and have fun through golf. Coach Rebecca knows maintaining a healthy mindset helps her be the best version of herself, and she’s passing that information on to the youth in her classes. “I spend time filling my mind and body with things that make me feel good and add to my happiness. Everyday I make sure I eat food that gives me energy and adds value to my journey along with drinking plenty of water! I also love to read good books and spend time doing things that add joy to my life. A Hallmark movie here or there doesn’t hurt either!” When she’s not coaching or playing, Coach Rebecca enjoys shopping for shoes and trying her hand at new cooking recipes. Learn more about her strategies for maintaining a healthy mindset.
Coach Nic Thacker, First Tee – South Puget Sound
1. Why do you think having a healthy mindset is important?Having a healthy mindset is the first step to being a generally healthy person. If you have self-belief, confidence and a good work ethic you can accomplish so much.
2. How do you keep a healthy mindset?It’s different for everyone, and the first important step is knowing yourself and what makes you tick. For me personally, staying physically active, maintaining a nutritious diet, and spending time with my wife and dog.
3. How do you prepare for school/work?I always start my day with a big glass of water, some stretching and protein shake, but recently I’ve been doing breathwork right before leaving the house, which is quickly becoming a new habit.
4. How do you prepare for social activities (First Tee, other clubs, hanging out with friends)?I like making my home comfortable and clean so I can have a calm environment to come home to. It also helps to get everything on your to-do list finished so you can fully enjoy having fun and being with friends without stressing about things on the back of your mind.
5. If you’re stressed, what do you do to relax?Breathwork techniques have been incredibly helpful for relieving anxiety, and it’s actually something I’ve taken on the golf course as well. It’s also important to identify and name the thing giving you stress – you can’t solve a problem until you look it in the eye.
6. Who can you turn to if you need help?I’m lucky to have so many people in my life who love me and are there for me. My wife McKenna helps me with things large and small every day, and my dad is always there to answer questions about my car or to just talk about life.
7. If you make a mistake, how do you learn from it and move forward?Everyone makes mistakes, but that’s never much of a comfort when you make them. Always do your best in life, even the smallest things, because then your mistakes are at least made with your best effort. Mistakes sting worse when they’re born from laziness or a lack of care. When you do inevitably make a mistake, ask what the mistake has to teach you. There are always lessons in doing things the wrong way, but they’re only valuable if they sink in.
8. If you see a friend or family member in need, what can you do to encourage them?Approach them in a way that’s compassionate to them and considerate of their feelings. People in need of help often don’t want to ask for it, and helping out doesn’t always mean directly solving their problem for them. The best way to be an ally to a loved one during their time of need is offering a patient and empathetic ear.
9. What has First Tee taught you about a healthy mindset?A lot! It’s easy to cultivate a healthy mindset by being outdoors, playing golf and being with friends. I love seeing young participants’ small moments of kindness toward one another during class and I think it’s made me a more empathetic person.
The Sailfish Point Ladies Golf Association choose First Tee – Treasure Coast as their beneficiary of their annual charity day. The 9-hole and 18-hole leagues collected club donations in addition to monetary donations. The ladies donated 6 bags of clubs and $2,200 to support the children and veterans of our Chapter. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Ladies Golf Association and the Sailfish Point staff of Vic Tortorici and Allison Lepping for conducting a great event to help support the children of the Treasure Coast.
It went just perfect- a beautiful day on one of the best golf courses in the world. Chapter friends, supporters and students enjoyed a spectacular round of golf at Jupiter Hills at our annual spring tournament. “We are so appreciative to the members and staff of Jupiter Hills,” said Chapter President Andrew Hunt. “They opened up their club to us and helped serve the children and veterans of the Treasure Coast.” The tournament was the largest one-day fundraiser in the history of our organization raising over $90,000 to help fund our mission and programs serving Martin and St. Lucie Counties. The team of Jake Navaretta, Brett Buller, Andy Hobbs and Brett Whitley won the gross division with a score of seven under par, 65 (pictured above left). The team of Gerry Litrento, Chris Perry, Mike Anderson and Eric Gelfand crushed the net division with a score of twenty-one under par, 51 (pictured above right). Rob Riccardo aced the 14th hole for a very special hole-in-one. The tournament was an outstanding success because of the support of our sponsors: