As First Tee approaches its 25th anniversary, the organization continues to make significant investments to evolve and to meet the changing needs of today’s kids and families. Perhaps the most critical to our future success is the evolution, enhancement, and modernization of First Tee’s curriculum across the entire network. This includes not only modernizing what we deliver but how we deliver it.
“We are very excited about these curriculum enhancements and think they will benefit our participants immensely,” said Kyle Harris, Director of Operations for First Tee of Massachusetts. “We want to make sure everyone understands that our core philosophy of developing life skills and character values through golf has not changed. We believe these changes will result in an even more impactful participant experience and help us meet our kids where they’re at on an emotional and developmental level.”
At First Tee – Massachusetts, we will begin to roll out these enhancements at select program locations in Summer of 2022, including Harwich, Springfield, and Southwick. The rest of our chapter will roll out age-based programs in 2023.
As part of the curriculum modernization, we will be transitioning away from the previous level-based system of PLAYer, Par, Birdie, Eagle and Ace, and replacing it with an age-based structure. Participants will now register for classes for 7-9, 10-11, 12-13, or 14 & up age groups.
The intention of this shift in philosophy is to help with recruitment and retention of older youth, while also addressing the social hurdles that can exist when kids from a wide age range are grouped together. We can now have more age-appropriate conversations with our youth and meet them where they are. We hope this results in an even more engaging program that is developmentally and emotionally fulfilling, and challenges them to grow as golfers and as people.
The familiar First Tee Nine Core Values – Respect, Courtesy, Responsibility, Honesty, Sportsmanship, Confidence, Judgement, Perseverance, and Integrity – will remain a constant with the new curriculum. However they will be infused into the content and the curriculum in relation to the character lessons and intended outcomes of the program, rather than lumped together at the PLAYer level. You’ll see these values highlighted in lessons and their positive attributes will be referred to throughout. Good character is good character, and we do not plan to lose the valuable content that is applicable and supportive to positive youth development.
One other exciting enhancement is the development of a Digital Yardage Book in conjunction with a First Tee app, which the network hopes to pilot in 2022. We hope the app and yardage book will be available network-wide in 2023.
Please stay tuned for more information as we prepare to fully make the transition to age-based programming next year!