New Chapter President And Vice President

We are excited to announce Greg Thompson as our new Chapter President. Greg previously served as our Vice President and currently serves as a Director on the First Tee – Florida Gold Coast Board of Directors.

He and his wife Kathy (pictured above left) support First Tee as Trustees. Greg has worked as a CFO with extensive global experience across many industries including chemicals, building products, medical equipment, manufacturing, technology software and services, and public accounting. Greg recently retired as executive vice president and chief financial officer of KEMET following the sale of the company. Greg and his wife Kathy reside in Fort Lauderdale and they both enjoy golf and boating.

Erica Bennett has accepted the role as our Chapter Vice President. Erica has served as a Director since 2019 and has now joined as a Director on the First Tee – Florida Gold Coast Board. Erica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and a master’s degree in Education. She has enjoyed 30 years working in the fields of public relations, marketing, television, and education (all while writing and publishing her book and telling her story to numerous audiences around the globe). She is always paving the way with her commitment to empowerment, purpose, and inclusivity.

The principles that guide her life also are central to her leadership as a co-founder of ORCA Golf and its parent company, 17Yards Golf. She has built and grown ORCA Golf to not only feature quality products but to take a revolutionary stance and grow the golf industry as a whole.

Nick’s Golf

NICK’s Golf allows children who are undergoing chemotherapy to have something fun to look forward to by enrolling them in a learn to golf program through The Chiera Family Foundation and our Chapter. The Chiera Family Foundation helps support four different programs for kids and young adults who are battling cancer. NICK’s Golf allows the cancer patient and their siblings and friends to join them for the four-week golf sessions. For some of these children who are battling cancer, it is the first time that they have had some fun with their siblings or friends. Being outdoors also gives the parents a break from the grind of hospital visits.

Special SHOUT OUT to Chapter Director Lou Chiera and his family for making this incredible program happen through their foundation.

Networking For Children: 9Pickup

9PickUp was created to make it easy for South Floridians to give back to their community by donating gently used furniture and household items. To benefit Networking to Help Children we pick up Clothing, Furniture, Home Décor, Electronics and Miscellaneous items free of charge all for a great cause. They are happy to ease Networking to Help Children efforts by providing them with an easy, free means of donation pickups.

West Palm 100

West Palm 100 is a social and civic organization comprised of like-minded individuals that are dedicated to supporting West Palm Beach’s children, families and neighborhoods through the donation of time, money and people power.  They host a monthly ‘Happy Hour for a Cause’ at various West Palm Beach establishments, with the proceeds donated to our monthly local charity of choice.  They held an event at Drive Shack to raise funds to benefit our mission and programs.

Pictured above left to right: Michael Kessler and John Rothberg from West Palm One Hundred handing the check to Chapter Director of Operations Janelle Johnson and Executive Director Carl Mistretta.

Scotch And Sharks

Chapter staff Janelle Johnson and Zack Anderton attended the end of year event for the Scotch and Sharks organization. It was an amazing event with food, drinks, and live music for their community partners and to announce their end of year donations. They surprised us with an incredible $10,000 donation!

Scotch & Sharks host events to cultivate relationships and let business flow organically.  Loosen up the tie, or even better lose it altogether. Scotch & Sharks is by invitation only and proudly entertains South Florida’s executives and professionals who align with our values: Community.  Integrity. Comradery.

Savannah Mansueti Graduates From UF

Chapter alumna Savannah Mansueti recently graduated from the University of Florida with her bachelor’s degree in political science! Savannah was a recipient of our four-year college scholarship after her many years of involvement at our Chapter as a student and Coach.

She will continue to serve our community as she has accepted a position as Events Coordinator and Social Media Manager with the Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue and Hospital.

“First Tee has been an integral part of my life, and I am so thankful for their support during my college career,” said Savannah. “The resources and opportunities that First Tee have provided have made a significant impact on my development as a person. I would not be where I am today without this organization.”

Chapter Attends Network Summit

Chapter staff, coaches and board members traveled to Dallas, Texas to attend the First Tee Network Summit. We attended classes on inclusion, fundraising, coaching, storytelling, and social media.  Guest speakers included First Tee’s Honorary Chairman President George Bush and former CEO of ATT Randall Stephenson.

This biennial event brings together representatives from the international network of 155 First Tee chapters for education, networking and learning from guest speakers to help us implement best practices and deepen our impact in the communities we serve.

We met with other chapters across the east coast to share ideas. Over 800 people attended the Summit.  Our chapter won “Best Attended” with over 17 representatives from our organization making the trip.

Program Partner Highlight: PAL

We are very excited to offer programming to the students of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Police Athletic League (PAL) as one of our newest and largest program partners! We hosted programming for all FIVE of their centers across the county and concluded with an end of season party at Drive Shack. Each PAL center chose one outstanding participant, and they were gifted their own set of golf clubs.

Partial funding for this incredible program was provided by the BallenIsles Charities Foundation.

“The support of our local country clubs is how we fund the majority of our outreach programs,” said Dr. Edward Slotnick, Chapter Vice President.  “Their support and generosity impact the lives of thousands of students each year in Palm Beach County.”

End Of Year Bash

Lots to celebrate.  We had our biggest year ever in delivering First Tee, special needs and veterans’ programs in Palm Beach County.  In December, we hosted our End of Year Bash at the Finnegan Learning Center with over 130 students (including from PBSO PAL), parents, coaches, directors and supporters in attendance.

We kicked it off with our Honorary Vice Chairman Dennis Walters and Gussie putting on their inspirational trick shot golf show.  Next up, Chapter Director and LPGA Tour player Marina Alex and PGA Champions Tour player Ken Duke answered questions about becoming a touring professional and their lives on Tour. We ended the day with recognizing Coach Tami Blanks as our 2022 Coach of the Year and enjoying delicious food from the Jumby Bay Food Truck.

Mateo Muniz Player Of The Year

It came down to the wire, but Chapter student Mateo Muniz brought it home by winning the 2022 SFPGA Junior Tour Player of the Year in the 9-10 age group! When asked about his win, Mateo said: “I was surprised. It was my first full year playing the Prep Tour and I learned a lot about competition and integrity.  When I play, I play my game, and according to the rules.  I am fortunate to have people like my mom and Coach Glen who encourage me to play that way.”

Congratulations Mateo! We cannot wait to see what is in store for you in 2023…………

It’s Almost Honda Classic Time

“We are so appreciative of the support of all our tournament sponsors and fans and proud that we are able to continue moving the needle upward for the benefit of our philanthropic partners,” said Honda Classic Executive Director Andrew George.  “While the tournament strives to provide the entire South Florida area with a premier professional sporting event, the ultimate goal is to improve the lives of youth in need and to create a brighter future for our community.”

February 23-26

Looking for tournament tickets or hospitality to the biggest sporting event in Palm Beach County? https://thehondaclassic.com/tickets/

Mark your calendars for the First Tee Junior Clinic on Tuesday, February 21st at 3:15pm.

Want to play where the pros play?  We play the Sunday pins from the PGA Tour event on Monday, February 27th.  Sponsorships are available.