I was introduced to the First Tee program about five years ago. It is an amazing program that gives kids positive reinforcement through role models and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Alot of these kids are from low income areas that cannot afford to be a part of a sports program. They teach the game of golf and play by all the rules. If you don't play by the rules (where it be to stay in good standings at the school, respect of others or attitude), they do not tolerate you being a part of their program. Their Nine Core Values are:
Why I bring up the First Tee Program is that I have a second cousin, Joanne (once or twice removed - I really don't understand all that dialect). Steve Koenig married my cousin Joanne Cormier and I have really only gotten to know him at my family reunions. He is semi-retired and volunteers for the First Tee program in Seattle, WA. It is a great deal for him because he loves to golf and gets to be on a course everyday with these kids. We always hit it off when we talk about golf. He invited me to Seattle to go with him to the 2010 Boeing Classic (PGA Champions Tour) that was held at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge this last summer.
I had a great time and was treated like royalty in these sponsors tents. We met some of his kids that were in his First Tee program and hobnobbed with all the big wigs. Very impressive!
I spent our ride up to the golf event learning all about his past history. I have to tell you that I learned quite a lot in that interview. It is important to take some time to really understand people and their history. It all can be relevant to your relationship with them!
Steve taught me a couple of things:
1. To help learn the names of individuals when in a group environment is to ask them if they have a nickname that special family members or friends call them. That was a huge one for me because I am terrible with names. I spend a lot of time asking my daughter names of players on our basketball team and she hates to tell me.
2. He showed me some golf professional trading cards that he has the pros sign and then he uses them as rewards for the golfers in his program. That would be a huge deal to me if I were a student and got a momento like that. I began to brainstorm on how I could do something like that for my clients. hmmmm?
It was a great weekend and I had a very memorable experience that I will never forget. Steve has one of those unforgettable personalities and will always be a great inspiration to me.
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