BRASELTON, Ga. – Three juniors who participated in the first year of the American Junior Golf Association’s Playing It Forward initiative recently presented their donations to the local charities they chose to support.
Shawn Bennett of Sterling, Mass., Travis Rowney of Pleasanton, Calif., and Carter Thompson of Tallahassee, Fla., all raised money through the “Birdies for Charity” part of the program. The three collected flat donations and per-birdie pledges throughout the summer, totaling $3,185 in money raised.
Half of the funds raised through Playing It Forward are donated to a local charity of the junior’s choice and the other half go towards supporting the AJGA’s youth development programs through the AJGA Foundation.
Bennett chose to support The First Tee of Massachusetts.
“I have seen the benefit of volunteerism and I knew that my participation would not only enrich my life, but the lives of young children,” Bennett said. “I saw the Playing it Forward Program as a service learning project that allowed me to participate in meaningful service that not only provided me with a learning experience of civic responsibility, but also strengthen the community.”
Rowney’s efforts benefited The First Tee of The Tri-Valley.
“I really appreciate the AJGA putting this program together,” said Roger Whincup, executive director of The First Tee of the Tri-Valley. “We appreciate all those birdies Travis made. His efforts really help out our programs here.”
Thompson supported the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour.
“Raising money to help other junior golfers really motivated me to do well and card birdies in tournaments this summer,” Thompson said. “I knew every time I did well, I was helping other kids who could not pay tournament fees or needed help to play junior golf. “
The Playing It Forward initiative gives AJGA members all the tools necessary to coordinate a successful fundraising campaign in their communities with the opportunity to give back. There are currently two programs designed and ready to be implemented: Birdies for Charity and the Golf-A-Thon. The money raised through Playing It Forward is split between a local charity of the junior’s choice and the AJGA Foundation. In 2009, 62 juniors participated in the program raising more than $55,000.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
For more information on Love or the Playing It Forward program, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at 770-868-4200.