Scottsdale Charros help bridge gap between youth, First Tee

First Tee program participants who get a feel for the game of golf and who learn a few life lessons along the way. (Submitted photo)

We all face hurdles and challenges in life, but some of us are faced with overcoming what many believe to be insurmountable.

And, those insurmountable challenges oftentimes don’t discriminate by race, color, creed or age leaving many with an uphill battle without a safe place to learn life skills that can transform future prospects.

But a program offered by the Thunderbird Jr. Golf Foundation — and supported by the Scottsdale Charros — is helping to teach young boys and girls life skills through the virtue of learning the game of golf.

The program is called The First Tee of Phoenix.

“To impact the lives of children throughout Maricopa County by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf,” said The First Tee of Phoenix Director of Business Development Mike Tucker on what the overall goal of the program is.

“We develop these character, life skills, and healthy habits through teaching nine essential core values and nine healthy habits forming the of all of our programs.”

The nine essential core values taught through the program are:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Judgment
  • Sportsmanship
  • Responsibility
  • Perseverance
  • Confidence
  • Courtesy

Mr. Tucker says the First Tee program is designed, through learning the tenets of the game of golf, to help the youth of the Valley of the Sun learn to overcome the ups and downs of life.

“The First Tee programs teach young people life skills that allow them to face challenges at home, school and play in a constructive manner,” he explained.  “The skills they learn include problem solving, goal setting, time management, controlling one’s emotions, working with others and improving relationships with family and community.”

But the program costs money and that’s where The Charro Foundation comes in as this current calendar year a $2,500 grant was provided by the First Tee program.

For 57 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

A view of the First Tee program in action. (Submitted photo)

“The Charros have supported The First Tee of Phoenix the past two years — 2016 and 2017,” Mr. Tucker pointed out of the partnership and support.

“They have provided the DRIVE program to the children within the Boys and Girls Clubs of Scottsdale that attend the Charros branch. They have also provided support to our Talking Stick Golf Course location with the ‘Life Skills Experience’ program that provided 10 scholarships to Boys and Girls Clubs members to become members of The First Tee of Phoenix at Talking Stick.”

Mr. Tucker explains the support from the Charros goes beyond a one-time grant.

“Children from the Charros branch attend class once per week through the Life Skills Experience Program,” he said. “They have also provided training for both staff and volunteers to become certified coaches at the location. Currently our Talking Stick programming location serves over 120 children.”

To learn more about the First Tee of Phoenix, go

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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