Katrina Delen-Briones, of San Francisco, and Adam Michel, of Orinda, Calif., were named the inaugural President’s Youth Leadership Award recipients, the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association announced Monday.
This award was created to recognize one boy and one girl junior golfer who demonstrated leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the USGA-AJGA Youth Leadership Club – a joint initiative founded in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.
Delen-Briones and Michel will be honored and formally presented the award by USGA President Walter Driver, Jr. during the Rolex Dinner of Champions Saturday, July 8, 2006, at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen, Colo. Additionally, they will each receive four tickets to the 2007 U.S. Open being held at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., access to the USGA hospitality tent during the U.S. Open, and an automatic entry into the 2006 Rolex Tournament of Champions - one of the most prestigious junior golf events in the country.
Delen-Briones, 16, came to the United States from the Philippines in 2003. After learning to play from her father and a local professional in her home country, she joined The First Tee of San Francisco when it opened in the spring of 2004. Since then, she has made the facility her home away from home, compiling more than 400 hours of community service.
“We have asked Katrina to do a lot when it comes to representing the ‘best of The First Tee of San Francisco,’ and she has always performed with grace, perseverance, and poise beyond her years,” The First Tee of San Francisco Program Director Judith Powell wrote in her letter of recommendation. “Whether it is giving a speech to our large donors or licking envelopes for a 1,000-person mailing, Katrina is always available and smiling.”
When at The First Tee Facility at the Harding Park Golf Complex, Delen-Briones can be found doing activities from administrative work to mentoring younger players learning the game for first time. She has represented the chapter at the National Life Skills Academy and won the award presented to the student who best personifies the Nine Core Values of The First Tee Program both on and off the golf course. Last year, she participated in the Wal-Mart The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Paired with Champions TOUR Player Jay Haas, the tandem tied for third.
“Helping kids reach their goals is a small but great way to help our community,” Delen-Briones wrote in her application letter. “My experiences at The First Tee make it easier for me to share with the kids the real importance of The First Tee: to help kids become better people and better golfers.”
Michel, 17, was given the President’s Youth Leadership Award through his tireless efforts at The First Tee of Contra Costa at the Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord, Calif. He became involved with the program after reading about it online shortly after it was founded in the fall of 2004. Since then he has become one of this First Tee Chapter’s best fund-raisers.
Initially, Michel volunteered as a weekly instructor during clinics, but quickly realized the facility needed better equipment for the juniors in attendance. With the approval of the chapter’s Executive Director, Victor Morris, Michel staged two successful equipment donation drives at two private golf facilities in Northern California. These drives garnered $7,500 in clubs and bags for The First Tee of Contra Costa.
Last year, Michel’s high school had a program in place to offer grants to its students’ community service projects. His proposal to help the Life Skills Program fund equipment and pay for additional staff training resulted in a $750 grant.
Perhaps Michel’s most impressive contribution is his latest endeavor – a recently published “how-to” pamphlet that describes the many ways junior golfers can get involved in community service and fund raising. The handbook, which includes information on how to organize a donation drive, find grants, write grant proposals, handle an interview, and hold a fund-raising event, has been copyrighted and donated to The World Golf Foundation, Inc., for its use in promoting teen volunteerism within The First Tee chapters.
“Volunteerism is critical to the future of golf,” Michel wrote in his application. “By teaching kids from all kinds of backgrounds about the game, and making courses and equipment accessible, a whole new generation of players will develop. Through volunteers and programs like The First Tee, golf’s continued growth will be assured.”
The USGA, golf’s governing body in the United States and Mexico, works closely with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, to produce a uniform code of the Rules of Golf that are observed worldwide.
The organization’s most visible role, however, is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, and U.S. Senior Open. The other 10 national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Girls’ Junior.
The USGA works to make the game of golf affordable and accessible. Since 1997, it has awarded more than $50 million as part of its ongoing $5-million annual grants initiative to provide financial support and assistance to deserving grassroots golf programs. The grants initiative traditionally focuses on programming for economically disadvantaged youth and individuals with disabilities.
Honorable Mention - President's Youth Leadership Award
Brandon Burke, Houston, Texas
Patrick Burke, Houston, Texas
Sarah Fox, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Peter Gibbs, Granite Bay, Calif.
Drew Johnson, Oak Ridge, N.C.
Austyn Karle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Taylore Karle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
D.J. Milligan, Cedar Ridge, Calif.
Austin Quinten, Sand Springs, Okla.