2017 First Tee Network Meeting and 20th Anniversary Celebration
It all started with a question: why don’t more kids play golf?
In 1997, a partnership among the LPGA, the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America, the PGA TOUR, and the USGA looked to make that question a thing of the past. To find the answer, they formed The First Tee.
From November 8-11, 2017 The First Tee celebrated its 20th Anniversary with the Network Meeting in Orlando Florida. Over 150 chapters from across the world came together to share best practices, network, learn, and most importantly celebrate achieving the goal of reaching 10 MILLION young people over the past 20 years. The First Tee of Connecticut had a decorated week which started with former Board Chairman Mr. Ted May being honored with the Jack Stephens Leadership Award for outstanding service, leadership and commitment to the organization’s mission. Our retiring Executive Director, Mr. David Polk, was honored for his contributions to not only The First Tee of Connecticut but also the First Tee as a whole. The week ended with our very own Megnha Mazumdar being selected as one of the two most “Outstanding Participants” throughout the First Tee Network.
Cromwell, Conn. (November 15, 2017) – At Saturday night’s Gala Dinner capping The First Tee’s 20th anniversary Biennial Network Meeting in Orlando, Fla The First Tee of Connecticut walked off with two top honors—Meghna Mazumdar, a ninth grader at South Windsor High School, was announced as one of two recipients of The First Tee’s Outstanding Participant award; and Ted May, immediate past Chair of The First Tee of Connecticut’s board, was one of two who were honored with the Jack Stephens Leadership Award for outstanding service, leadership and commitment to the organization’s mission.
The First Tee of Connecticut is a statewide youth development organization serving more than 71,000 young people.
The First Tee’s Outstanding Participant national award recognizes exemplary achievement in the area of academics, community service, chapter involvement and leadership. Meghna, representing The First Tee of Connecticut, was one of two national award winners each receiving a $20,000 college scholarship from The First Tee Founding Corporate Partner Shell Oil Company. Meghna took the stage shortly after Former President George W. Bush, the organization’s honorary chair, addressed the crowd of more than 1,000 people. Gerry Jones, Jr., from The First Tee of Hampton Roads, VA was the other award winner.
Meghna attended The First Tee Outstanding Participant & Leadership Summit held in conjunction with The First Tee Network Meeting. The Summit was an interactive and educational event in which 28 teen participants nationally were given the opportunity to develop and hone skills to become leaders in their chapters, schools and communities.
“Congratulations to all the Outstanding Participants who joined us in Orlando for this special event, especially to Gerry and Meghna for receiving this honor,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee. “We are proud of the leadership and core values displayed by these young people who represent our future.” Six remaining finalists will each receive $2,500 scholarships, also provided by Shell Oil Company.
Meghna has been active with The First Tee of Connecticut since the fall of 2009. She participated in a panel discussion entitled “Empowering Women Through Golf” and continues to serve as an eLeader with the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program. In 2016, Meghna was selected as the Wells Fargo Succeeding Together essay contest winner, giving her the opportunity to play in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am with Rory McIlroy. From this accomplishment, she was invited to appear on NBC’s “TODAY” to share her experiences. In addition, Meghna also participates in various activities through EXCEL (Talented & Gifted Program) including mock trial competitions and film-making.
The First Tee also presented other national recognitions and awards throughout the Network Meeting. Ted May, immediate past Chair of The First Tee of Connecticut’s board, was one of two who were honored with the Jack Stephens Leadership Award for outstanding service, leadership and commitment to the organization’s mission.
“The First Tee would not be where it is today without many incredible and dedicated leaders serving the organization, chapters and young people in communities,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee. “It is a privilege to recognize these individuals on behalf of The First Tee.”
The 20th Anniversary Network Meeting was kicked off with a performance by Javier Colon, Honorary Director of The First Tee of Connecticut and winner of the inaugural season of the NBC television show, “The Voice”.
While it was exciting to be recognized with awards our staff is coming back inspired to continue the hard work of positively impacting the lives of young people in Connecticut. We hope you can enjoy some of our memories of the Network Meeting.
Meghna Mazumdar Selected as GRAND PRIZE WINNER – Wells Fargo Succeeding Together Contest
Meghna Mazumdar, 13, of South Windsor has been selected as the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the 2016 Wells Fargo Succeeding Together Contest. As the grand prize winner, Meghna traveled to Charlotte, NC for the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship and was paired with a PGA TOUR player of her choice (World #3 Rory McIlroy) in the Pro-Am on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.
Click here to read Meghna’s essay responses for the contest that encourage teenage participants of The First Tee to showcase the importance of being part of a “Go-To-Team” and working together. Thank you to Wells Fargo, the Wells Fargo Championship and The First Tee for offering this amazing program and for selecting Meghna to represent her family and our chapter at the event. Visit succeedingtogether.org for complete contest details. Click here for an official recap of Meghna’s round by Wayne Thompson of Wells Fargo. In addition to Meghna, three first place winners were chosen among the ten finalists, each of whom earned a trip to the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship.
The First Tee’s National School Program
Nature Valley First Tee Open @ Pebble Beach
Chase Skrubis, 17, of Granby will represent The First Tee of Connecticut at the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, an official PGA TOUR Champions Tour event to be held September 16 – 18 and televised internationally on Golf Channel.
Ted May Inducted Into Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame
The First Tee of Connecticut’s Chairman of the Board, Ted May was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame at the Connecticut State Golf Association’s Annual Meeting on December 4, 2014. Mr. May has been involved with Connecticut’s professional golf tournament, now the Travelers Championship, since the 1970’s and was a founding member of The First Tee of Hartford in 1999. Click here to read more.