This week a group of eight participants from across the country joined the staff at First Tee Headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, as part of the Participant Advisory Council. This group not only acted as representatives for their respective chapters, but for the thousands of participants in First Tee. The council shared its thoughts with First Tee leaders about various business operations like programming, social media, technology and participant events. First Tee values the opinions and counsel that participants can offer.
“Being able to represent my chapter and my age group and all the participants in this program which I love is so amazing. I totally recommend [applying for PAC],” said Lorelei O’Donnell of First Tee – Fort Worth.
The group was chaperoned by two First Tee alumni, Sara Diaz and David Singh. Sara is an alumna of First Tee – San Antonio and continues to work in golf. She was even a part of the first Spanish-language stream on PGA TOUR Live during the 2023 Mexico Open. David Singh is an alumnus of First Tee – Tampa Bay. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh where he works as a graduate administrative assistant at University of Pittsburgh Medical Centers.
Members of the 2023 Participant Advisory Council:
Maya Fitzgerald, First Tee – West Michigan
- Maya has been involved with First Tee for eight years. As a member of the Participant Advisory Council, she wanted to help grow the game of golf and emphasize inclusion.
Cayden Leslie, First Tee – Tennessee
- Cayden has been involved with First Tee for five years. He aimed to provide insight into creating an improved teenage curriculum that is clearer and more engaging for participants.
William Liu, First Tee – Greater Seattle
- William has been involved with First Tee for six years. During his time as a member of the Participant Advisory Council, he aimed to use his experience as a student and coach to provide a first-person perspective on the participant and coach experience.
Whitley Shields, First Tee – Greater Washington, D.C.
- Whitley has been involved with First Tee for six years. She’s passionate about teenage retention at First Tee chapters.
Kaylee Nguyen, First Tee – Gulf Coast
- Kaylee has been involved with First Tee for five years. She joined the PAC to increase the focus on promoting diversity, specifically in the availability for participants to offer unique perspectives to overcome problems and spark new ideas.
Lorelei O’Donnell, First Tee – Fort Worth
- Lorelei has been involved with First Tee for ten years. Her goal with her time on the Participant Advisory Committee was to update the ACE program – First Tee’s capstone project program – and explore how participants will reach ACE level.
Ethan Selvers, First Tee – Metropolitan New York
- Ethan has been involved with First Tee for eight years. His aim as a member of the Council was to help relay First Tee’s message of diversity and equality, and how important it is to the success of First Tee.
Jiali (Bennie) Zhu, First Tee – Orange County
- Bennie has been involved with First Tee for five years. He aimed to expand First Tee’s reach to youth across the nation as well as attract and retain student volunteer coaches.
As First Tee continues to grow, we look to participants and alumni for innovative ideas and feedback to ensure we are meeting the evolving needs of today’s kids and teens. First Tee thanks the 2023 Participant Advisory Committee and all who continue to carry on the mission and commitments of First Tee year-round.
“PAC can only be described as innovating, enthralling and empowering.” said Kaylee Nguyen.
More information on the Participant Advisory Council can be found here.