The First Tee of Fort Worth

 
The Miles Foundation’s desire to think outside the box is hugely valuable to us. We can be honest, knowing they are thinking differently about how to devise innovative solutions together. The Miles Foundation has linked arms with us to ensure we have a sustainable organization that can serve children and families for years to come.
— Kevin Long, Executive Director, The First Tee of Fort Worth


Positive Youth Development

Established in 2004, The First Tee of Fort Worth has quickly grown to become a leading youth character education program in Tarrant County and a go-to resource for the local community.

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The First Tee of Fort Worth is part of over 200 chapters of The First Tee network internationally and is dedicated to building character, instilling life-enhancing values and promoting healthy choices for children to ensure their future success. Through the game of golf, The First Tee of Fort Worth introduces children to The First Tee’s Nine Core Values that serve as the foundation for teaching critical life skills, including interpersonal communication, self-management, goal setting, and resilience.  The curriculum engages parents to ensure that these principles are upheld on the golf course, at school, at home, and in the community.

The First Tee’s Nine Core Values are:

  1. Honesty
  2. Integrity
  3. Sportsmanship
  4. Respect
  5. Confidence
  6. Responsibility
  7. Perseverance
  8. Courtesy
  9. Judgment

The First Tee of Fort Worth seeks to impact the lives of all school-aged children, and particularly those in underserved populations. Trained and certified coaches for the organization play a key role in creating positive relationships that inspire young people to consider their future, declare goals, and discover their individual potential.  The coaching philosophy for The First Tee is implemented through four building blocks; Activity-Based learning, Mastery-Driven tasks, Empowering Youth in the decision-making process and Continuous Learning that fosters long-term solutions.

This unique “bridge-to-life” model rapidly gained traction in Fort Worth and Tarrant County following its 2004 launch. What began as a single program serving 375 children in 2004 expanded into multiple community outreach initiatives serving more than 35,000 children in 2016.  The First Tee of Fort Worth’s programs now include:

  • The First Tee Life Skills Experience – Foundational multi-level courses offered at the Ben Hogan Learning Center at Rockwood Golf Course and other affiliate golf locations across a four county service area.
  • Community Outreach Initiatives – Programming offered in partnership with other local youth development organizations including YMCA’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, H.O.P.E. Farm, United Community Centers, Fort Worth Community Centers, Clayton YES!, and others.
  • The First Tee’s National School Program – Supplemental program for in-school Physical Education classes delivered by Physical Education teachers that integrates golf skills and motor skill development alongside character education.

The First Tee of Fort Worth continues to generate new and innovative opportunities for reaching at-risk children across Tarrant County, like its Briscoe Elementary School practice facility built in partnership with Rainwater Charitable Foundation and the Fort Worth ISD and will serve over 4,000 children within the Morningside Community of Fort Worth. To accommodate this ongoing growth, The First Tee of Fort Worth has teamed with The Miles Foundation to increase its organizational capacity and develop meaningful metrics to track its impact across the community.

The Miles Foundation’s partnership with The First Tee of Fort Worth began in 2011 with program-related support, and has evolved into a partnership focused on enhancing its strategic capacity to enable greater impact. In 2015, partnering with CNM Outcomes Institute allowed The First Tee of Fort Worth to put into place critical tools to begin measuring long-term outcomes. Today, the organization continues that focus on enhancing, measuring, and scaling its programs at community outreach locations together with a growing number of engaged partners and volunteers.

While the story of The First Tee of Fort Worth’s impact will increasingly be told through organizational and community metrics, the heart of their work resides with the families it serves.

One of those is a family of four, with two teenage boys whose father had lost his job. The two boys, Alex and Austin, were homeschooled, and without any discretionary income, they were not involved in any activities outside of the home.

When Alex and Austin’s parents discovered that their boys could attend The First Tee of Fort Worth through free financial aid, they enlisted their boys immediately.  Although it started as a simple after-school activity, The First Tee of Fort Worth quickly developed into a critical outlet for both Alex and Austin to develop their voice, their interpersonal skills, and their leadership passions.

Today, both boys are representatives on The First Tee of Fort Worth’s Junior Advisory Board, and they are active volunteers in the program. Their parents credit The First Tee for getting Alex and Austin academically and socially back on their feet in the midst of their family’s difficult time.

Stories like these are common in hallways of the Ben Hogan Learning Center.  It is this spirit of family – and of family values so critical to developing children of character – that The Miles Foundation is eager to help cultivate through its support of The First Tee of Fort Worth.