About The First Tee of Battle Creek

Who We Are

The First Tee of Battle Creek was established in 2001 as a local chapter of The First Tee, an international nonprofit youth development organization. Nationally, The First Tee has touched the lives of more than nine million youth through programs that teach life skills, core value and healthy life choices through the game of golf.

Here in Battle Creek, we deliver three core programs that build and complement each other, with age-appropriate curriculum led by adult mentors in an ideal setting. Offsite programs encourage participation in the more intensive May-October Life Skills Program conducted at our Learning Academy, located at Binder Park Golf Course. Students learn life skills that can improve high school graduation rates, community participation, success in adulthood, and help reduce bullying and childhood obesity. Adult mentoring is a key component of all our programs.

What We Do

The First Tee Life Skills Experience Program – Held May through October, this program teaches skills like how to set goals, manage emotions, make decisions and work well with others. Young people learn meeting and greeting skills and to appreciate diversity.

The First Tee National School Program – This program trains physical education teachers in local k-5 classes, who in turn teach their students life skills and healthy habits and basic golf skills. The program is and promotes character education through the nine core values of golf: respect, confidence, courtesy, responsibility, perseverance, sportsmanship, judgment and honesty.

The Target Outreach Program – A structured “try-it” activity conducted at area schools and community events introducing young people to golf and our organization.

Why We Do It

Nearly 73 percent of area public school students come from single parent and/or low-income households. One in five drops out before finishing high school and one in three are overweight or obese.
At the same time, research indicates positive youth development programs promote physical and emotional safety, enable young people to build constructive relationships and support development of social skills, such as leadership and conflict resolution.
To meet this need, nearly 30,000 Battle Creek area youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds have participated in our programs over the past 16 years. In our 2015-2016 year, 5,391 youth benefited from our programs!

Our Partnerships

The First Tee of Battle Creek is a unique public-private sector partnership. The national charter is held by the City of Battle Creek’s Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees the organization’s management and finances. We also operate as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, guided by the Southwest Michigan Youth Golf Association, an advisory board of volunteers and civic leaders that strengthens programming, fundraising and strategic planning.

The First Tee Learning Academy provides indoor classroom space as well as golf putting, practice fairways and holes designed for indoor and outdoor learning experiences.

We rely on volunteers and financial support from the community, including foundation, corporate grants, gifts from individuals and special event income to have a continuous positive impact on the youth in our community.