Hometown Hero: First Tee of Savannah

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 3:42 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - If it didn’t look like a traditional golf camp at Bacon Park, that’s because the First Tee of Savannah actually holds a “little bit of everything’' camp.

“They teach us sportsmanship, they teach us respect, how to be helpful, listen to people,” Thomas Williams said

They also mixed in a little swing advice on the first day of camp by the First Tee, the organization that teaches life skills and personal values through golf instruction.

“We’ve seen kids after they’ve lost tell their opponent good game. Those are things I’ve just seen today,” John Parker said.

This is the first camp the First Tee has held since the national organization was restarted in Savannah a year and a half ago, 30 kids coming out for a week’s worth of activity the farthest milepost reached yet in a comeback that can now be considered complete.

“This is huge for us, we didn’t know how big or how fast it would grow and to have all these kids out here for our very first summer camp has been pretty amazing, we want to see every level of golfer enjoy the game and so we start with that. We want them to have a good time. But we want to help them develop character values and life skills, that’s what we talk about all the time,” Ben Robbins said.

That’s the formula that Ariel Brown followed as a First Tee kid. And it’s what brought her back to the program as an instructor.

“The First Tee opened a lot of doors for me, I was exposed to so much, I learned so much and to this day I still play golf. I use all those skills in the workplace and on the golf course,” Ariel Brown said.

This lessons outside the game did not get past the kids at Bacon park.

“I like seeing every single kid have fun.”

“They teach us life lessons and what will happen in the real world.”

“I like seeing little kids grow and get better. They’re showing me they’re improving and they’re having fun. Everyone is having fun.”

And they’re learning about a game they can play forever at First Tee Camp, where WTOC Hometown Heroes are giving kids things to do and think about, this week and for the rest of their life.

“And we think if they come to First Tee they’ll not only be great young golfers, they’ll be great community members as well.”

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