Author: Rhonda Spykes

I’m a West Texas gal, wife, mother, grandmother, registered nurse, community volunteer, and golf enthusiast! I believe that introducing youth to the game of golf will empower them, and as a result, will make our communities stronger. I’m so grateful and excited to have the opportunity to be the Odessa Program Coordinator for The First Tee of West Texas where wonderful things are happening every day.

ECISD Launches NSP in 4 Elementary Schools!

Odessa, Texas – Murray Fly, G.E. Buddy West, Milam, and Blackshear Elementary will be the first four schools to implement The First Tee National School Program (NSP) at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. This expansion will impact approximately 2,000 students ages 7-11.

First Tee West Texas has been working diligently with private donors and organizations in order to bring a new, quality curriculum to ECISD elementary P.E. classes.

We’re very excited to be a Partner in Education with ECISD and want to thank our generous First Tee West Texas supporters along with ECISD Superintendent-Tom Crowe, and Michael Neiman-ECISD P.E. and Health Coordinator.

The First Tee National School Program provides physical educators with everything they need to get students started including teacher training, equipment, and the curriculum lesson plans.

During P.E. classes students will not only learn basic golf skills but they’ll receive introduction and reinforcement of The First Tee’s:

Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment

Nine Healthy Habits: play, energy, safety, mind, family, vision, friends, school, community

ECISD Makes Plans For The First Tee National School Program in 2018-2019

ECISD PE and Health Coordinator, Michael Neiman, is a proponent of The First Tee National School Program and understands the impact that the program could have on students in Odessa, Tx. Coach Neiman has been with the district for over 30 years and before becoming an administrator, he was an elementary PE coach. Even though Coach Neiman is not a golfer, he knows first hand that the more options kids have, the better.

Some kids excel at team sports, others do better with individual sports. The First Tee National School Program gives the district an option to help kids realize their strengths and capabilities. Developing golf skills through the program is a plus, and developing life skills such as perseverance, sportsmanship, and honesty is invaluable. This golf and character-building program will be implemented in four ECISD schools this fall at the start of 2018-2019 school year. Our goal is to eventually have the program in all ECISD elementary schools.

First Tee West Texas Exe. Director Bill Kirby and local volunteer Rhonda Spykes, met with Coach Neiman and several ECISD coaches at the Inaugural ECISD Golf Tournament at Sunset Golf & Country Club on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The coaches are excited to get involved in the program and offered their full support.

This unique program comes at no cost to the district or tax payers. Each school is sponsored by private donations. First Tee West Texas is consistently working to connect with people in Odessa and Midland in order to gain support for this important program which we believe will empower youth and strengthen our communities.

 

 

Local Civic Club Volunteers Make a Difference

Develops Rewarding Inspiring Values for Everyone! We have witnessed this motto in action with the kids participating in The First Tee D.R.I.V.E. program in Odessa, Texas which launched in 2017. The Rotary Club provides volunteers to help implement and teach the program to about 35 kids from the Woodson Boys & Girls Club. Rewarding? Absolutely!

Our volunteers have committed that hearing 3rd through 5th grade kids use and understand words such as chip, putt, drive, as well as respect and courtesy, is rewarding. Observing these kids practice basic golf skills is rewarding. Visualizing the impact that these new words and skills could possibly have on their future is not only rewarding, but also exciting and heart warming.

Local high school and college golfers have assisted in our program and have inspired our girls and boys. The volunteers have made observations that many of the kids might already have enough basic golf skills to try out for, and make, a middle school golf team.

Will the kids stick with it and try out for the middle school, then a high school golf team? Will they continue to develop golf and character skills and have college scholarship options? We hope so. But we know that without this important program, the answers to those questions are “doubtful” and “probably not”.

The First Tee D.R.I.V.E. program has made a difference in the lives of these boys and girls, and we know that they’ll have options in their future that may not have been realized without the vision and efforts of a few community-minded individuals.

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