In 2006, the American Junior Golf Association teamed with the United States Golf Association to create a program that would give back to the game that has created so much tradition and goodwill for players. The two-fold purpose of this initiative is to educate junior golfers about the rules of the game, as well as to give back to the communities that helped them growing up. The latter component is achieved through the formation of the Youth Leadership Club (YLC).
As a member of the YLC, juniors have the opportunity to apply for the President's Youth Leadership Award. The President's Youth Leadership Award will be presented to one girl and one boy who have demonstrated leadership skills, character and community service through their involvement with the USGA-AJGA Youth Leadership Club. Award winners will receive four tickets to a future U.S. Open of their choice, access to the USGA hospitality tent, and an automatic entry into the Rolex Tournament of Champions. The winners will be honored at the Rolex Dinner of Champions at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Ind., July 3, 2008.
In its first year, Adam Michel of Orinda, Calif., and Katrina Delen-Briones of San Francisco, were honored with the award. Adam worked with the First Tee of Contra Costa after reading about them online. Soon, he was one of their top fundraisers, including getting additional equipment for the facility.
One of Adam’s most impressive contributions was a 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.
Katrina compiled over 400 hours of community service at the First Tee of San Francisco, where she spent a good deal of her time after moving to the United States from the Philippines in 2003. Katrina did everything 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. In 2005, she participated in the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Paired with Champions TOUR Player Jay Haas, the tandem tied for third.
In 2007, Angela Villela of Sylmar, Calif., and Joseph Suarez of Richmond, Va., earned this prestigious honor. Angela worked closely with the Andres Y Maria Cardenas Foundation, which donates money to high school graduates going onto college. Additionally, Angela helped raise money for equipment and came to an agreement with a local golf course so that her high school team could play and practice at no cost.
Joseph was equally active in his community. Starting at the age of 12, Joseph volunteered countless hours with The First Tee of Richmond and numerous other local organizations. In 2007 alone, Joseph had volunteered over 500 hours!
These past winners personify exactly what the USGA-AJGA Youth Leadership Club is about. They give back to the communities that have given them so much.
To apply for the 2008 Presidents' Youth Leadership Award, click here.