For inner-city youths who may never have been exposed to the great sport of golf – and who may not be able to afford to play — there is The First Tee of the Ozarks.
Imagine this: From the first week of June until the first week of August, urban youth from all across America are treated to a one-week course here in southwest Missouri as they learn everything about the sport – from how to tee off, putt, which clubs to use and so forth. If they love it, great.
If not, that’s OK, just as long as they are on the Payne Stewart Memorial Golf & Leadership Complex.
“The best part for me is that golf is one of those few sports – the best sport – about how to handle life’s tough situations,” said Mark Parry, director of The First Tee of the Ozarks, a part of the Kids Across America facility near Golden. “It teaches honesty and integrity. You have to call penalties on yourself. There are just a lot of inherent lessons that come with playing golf.”
First Tee of the Ozarks relies on fundraising, and the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is proud to support the cause. The tournament, part of the PGA Tour’s annual Web.com Tour stop in Springfield, has generated almost $12 million for children’s charities in its 25-year history. That includes a record $1 million-plus last year alone.
SUPPORTING THE PCCC = SUPPORTING CHARITIES
- HELP THE FIRST TEE OF THE OZARKS: To help the non-profit in any way, visit its website through KidsAcrossAmerica.org, where you can make a donation.
- FOR GOLF FANS, WIN PRIZES: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket serves as a four-day tournament pass, but it’s better than that. It enters you to win daily prizes during the tournament as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2015 Ford Mustang.
- TICKET REVENUE GOES WHERE: Contact the local charity of your choice, simply because they receive revenue directly from those TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes tickets marked with their names.
- BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the daily newsletter, website or through several events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Additionally, restaurants, clothing stores and entertainment stops and such are asked to donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball Charity Auction.
- WHEN, WHERE: The tournament is Aug. 7-17 at Highland Springs Country Club, with the pros beginning play Aug. 13. Contact the PCCC staff at 417-887-3400.
About First Tee of the Ozarks
The First Tee of the Ozarks, which brings in children ages 9 to 18 every summer, is part of the Kids Across America in Golden, Mo., on the western side of Table Rock Lake.
Its roots date to 1978, when Joe White of Kanakuk Kamps, the largest family of Christian sports camps in America, began offering the last week of summer camp to serve the camping needs of urban youth.
The I’m Third Foundation, a 501 c3 non-profit, emerged and eventually the demand for a camp dedicated to serving urban youth and inner-city adult leaders became so great that the first Kids Across America Kamp was built.
It was completed in 1991 and, in 1995, KAA 2 was opened. The number of youth people and inner-city leaders served has grown every year. The demand led to the opening of a leadership training camp called Higher Ground in 1998, and a fourth camp, KAA 3, in the summer of 2001.
In September 2000, the foundation was renamed the Kids Across America Foundation, whose website spells out its mission this way: “God first, others second and I’m third.”
Parry, a Texas transplant, runs First Tee of the Ozarks. He teaches the kids in a lot of creative ways even before they hit the golf course.