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July 7, 2011

Joe Louis Barrow, Jr.

George W. Bush

Tim Finchem

Jim McGlothlin

Andrea Wong

BRIAN HAMMONS: Good morning and welcome to a very special announcement about The First Tee. I'm Brian Hammons with the Golf Channel, and it's a pleasure to be with you here this morning, and it goes without saying that the Nature Valley First Tee Open is one of our favorite stops on the Champions Tour. And it's indeed a pleasure to come here every year and meet many of the people across the country who are invested in this First Tee Program and they are invested as a participant, many of whom are here this morning, as a parents, as a donor, as a volunteer, perhaps as a mentor. Many have contributed to the success of this wonderful youth development organization and we are here today to talk about a very ambitious direction for the future. I'd like to welcome now the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Tim Finchem to make this historic announcement.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, Brian, and good morning, everybody. We are delighted to be here at Pebble Beach and to talk about The First Tee. I think any time you talk about The First Tee, Pebble Beach is the best place to be and for a lot of different reasons.
First of all, as Brian mentioned, the Nature Valley First Tee Open is here this week, pairing the best Champions Tour players in the world with The First Tee, young people can play together and I want to recognize Jon Nudi with General Mills for his commitment and The First Tee's commitment to build this tournament.
I think most of you know that the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, working with over the years, the AT&T National Pro-Am has built one of the best First Tee Programs in America here and contributed millions and millions of dollars to reach out to young people in this part of California, and the program we're about to announce in a few minutes is going to culminate here in late 2012.
So this is the place to be for a very special announcement about The First Tee. PGA TOUR has been strong supporter of The First Tee for the last 14 years since its inception and during those years, this program has met all of its goals. It has reached out to young people who historically have not had access to the game of golf, provided that access.
And importantly, along the way, The First Tee has discovered a way to use the game of golf to instill core values in young people and the growth of the program has been astounding over 4.7 million young people in America have been reached by The First Tee during this period of time, over 750 programs at facilities owned and operated by The First Tee and other facilities have been conducted in all 50 states during this period of time, and we now have our First Tee in school program in over 4,200 schools throughout the United States.
So we are off to a good start. And these first 14 years and the outside measurements of the program conducted by private and public universities around the country to measure the impact of the program have demonstrated its success and its impact, and consequently, we built a base, and we have developed confidence; confidence on the part of state and local governments who have contributed over 90 percent of the land that First Tee facilities sit upon, confidence in Congress who have applauded The First Tee and contributed federal dollars to help it grow; confidence on the part of our leaders around the country. And now it's time to turn to the future, and Joe Barrow and his team have put together a plan that conceivably could allow us to greatly grow the impact of The First Tee in the years to come.
And so today, I'm delighted to announce beginning today The First Tee Campaign for 10 million young people, and that effort will be to reach 10 million new young people between now and 2017. To do that, we need additional funding. The funding levels for The First Tee over these first 14 years have been excellent, led by our board of trustees and the work of chapters all over the country. But to reach our goal of 10 million new young people, we need to raise approximately $100 million new dollars, and that effort starts today. And it will be an effort that will reach out to individuals around the country who believe in what The First Tee stands for, what The First Tee has accomplished and what The First Tee can be.
As we do that, we will be led by a number of people, including Jim McGlothlin who is with me here today, who is co-chair of this campaign, and I will be introducing him to you in a few minutes, as well as our national chairman.
I think all of you know that the Bush family has been at the forefront of families to support The First Tee over these first 14 years, president George H.W. Bush as we put the program together in 1997 became our first honorary chairman, and then in February at the Annual Meeting of The First Tee in San Antonio, it was announced that George W. Bush assumed that role beginning then, and he is our chairman now.
And although the President could not be here today, he did provide a brief message for this announcement which I would like to share with you at this point.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you, Commissioner. I appreciate The First Tee participants who are present this morning. I congratulate you on your commitment to including yourselves in this program. I am honored to be associated with The First Tee and its good work. Since 1997, it's proven character education curriculum has had a positive impact on nearly five million young lives, and has helped introduced them to the great game of golf and its values, including discipline, honesty, integrity and responsibility.
Today we are announcing an ambitious new goal to bring The First Tee to 10 million additional young people between now and 2017. Through the campaign for 10 million lives, more boys and girls will learn how to set goals, overcome obstacles and make smart choices. Families and communities across America will be better for it. I thank Joe Barrow and The First Tee staff and the volunteers for all you do. I look forward to working with all of you to help achieve this next milestone.
Now I'm pleased to turn the program back over to my friend, PGA TOUR Commissioner, Tim Finchem.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, Mr. President.
And let me just say, also, that before I introduce Jim that the golf courses, PGA TOUR, the United States Golf Association, The PGA of America, Augusta National, the LPGA, came together in 1997 to bring this concept forward and have donated millions and millions of dollars directly and through the various tournaments they represent, will continue their strong support and elevate that support during this campaign.
But to raise the kind of money that we need to raise, we need a multi-tiered level approach. As I mentioned earlier, that campaign will culminate here at Pebble Beach October 8, 2012. The details of that and a variety of other pieces to this that will be forthcoming will be announced in the weeks to come.
But right now I'd like to introduce to you our co-chairman. Jim McGlothlin has been involved in the game of golf for a long, long time and importantly to the PGA TOUR he has served on our PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties Board over the last ten years, and he was one of the first of the board of trustees of The First Tee and has served as a trustee for over a decade and been a leader in developing a board of trustees, which has contributed significantly to the current success of the program.
Jim last year conducted incredibly, in one day, a tournament involving Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer to endow a young school for kids in southwest Virginia, and in one day he raised over $15.5 million for that cause. He knows how to get things done. And after that event, he came to me and he said, "You know, Tim, there's no reason that we can't take the concept that I developed in Virginia on a national level and raise the kind of money we need to raise to really elevate what The First Tee is all about."
So I jumped on that, and Jim has now agreed to co-chair this effort with us and I'm delighted to present to you a great supporter of The First Tee, Jim McGlothlin. Jim?
JIM MCGLOTHLIN: Good morning. Thank you, Tim. Delighted to be here and see so many smiling faces, happy children. I've been involved with The First Tee as a trustee for many years, and I've watched its growth and development. And I can say without reservation, First Tee is a great organization that does a fantastic job. Through training and education and the game of golf, and those three particular gifts or skills we have managed to give 4.7 million children a better way of life, a change in their life, a core value that they might not have had, and to enjoy the wonderful game of golf which embodies all those core values.
We failed in one little area and that is we have not brought enough children to it. We realize that government cannot do this job for us, no matter how much money we pay it doesn't seem to accomplish it.
And we do have a responsibility to our youth, all of whom are sitting here and with millions more around the country to help them to arrive as adults with the skills and culture that The First Tee can give them.
And I'm here because I had this experience last year that I would like to describe to you a little bit. Mountain Mission School has children just like The First Tee children, only difference is Mountain Mission has children that arrived there from sometime right after birth until they graduate from high school. They stay there 24/7, 365 days a year and they are educated there.
I've been on the board for 15 years and I've worked with them for 45. But the astounding story, in the last 15 years, almost every single child, more than 95 percent that graduated from high school went on to college. And 96 percent of those graduated from college in just four years. It's a success rate that most parents would be extremely proud of.
But this was done because they teach the same thing The First Tee teaches, core values. And that success is carried on throughout the life of the young adults, young children and young adults who are a part of Mountain Mission and a part of The First Tee. So you see, the story is the same. And I wanted to raise some money for an endowment because my mission doesn't take public funds at all. It just raises money from private sources.
So decided to have a fund-raiser for them and we got Jack, Arnie and Gary who are members to come and do a fund-raiser and the club members went out and sold this concept, and just what we are talking about, we have core values to sell, we can do some good for children and raised $15.5 million in one afternoon.
And we have the same kind of audience and we have the same responsibility here with The First Tee. We need to involve ten more million children by 2017; I know we can do that. But it will cost some additional money, and it seems to me that $100 million for 10 million children to have these benefits is a very cheap investment for us, and I think that investment will give great dividends to our country and to all of us who will enjoy being with these young people for the rest of their lives.
So I urge you to join us in bringing this fund-raising effort of ours to a success. We are going to have a lot of fun. I'm going to be involved in the first tier, tier A, which will be a series of tournaments ending here in October of 2012, at which time we will have raised $100 million. And with all of you here and those who are listening across America, thank you for joining us and for helping to make this a success. Thank you.
BRIAN HAMMONS: Next I'd like to introduce you to the chief executive of The First Tee, Joe Louis Barrow. Joe has been with The First Tee for 11 years now, and in that time has guided the program in many ways that have exceeded of our expectations. He is often referred to as The First Tee's 'chief evangelist.'
JOE BARROW: Thank you, Brian, Tim and Jim for being co-chairs of a very, very ambitious and aggressive campaign. I'm delighted to be here and share with you why I think it's so important for us to extend the reach of The First Tee. As I travel around the country, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with many of the young people in our chapters who are here with us today and many of our chapter leaders, and I see over and over again young people who are going in different directions because of their involvement with The First Tee.
I receive e-mails and I receive letters and notes from parents, coaches, talking about this young person or that young person, or this young man, this young woman who are moving in directions because of their involvement and understanding of the nine core values of The First Tee, the life skills experience, how to trust their goals, how to trust their judgment, how to have confidence and how to understand that it's okay to not have all of the answers, and give them advice on how they can manage their emotions in a way that allows them to succeed. Young people who previously who may not have considered whether they can graduate from high school are now graduating from college because of their involvement and understanding of The First Tee.
When I think about that and I travel around the country, I asked our chapter leaders, where would these young people be if The First Tee were not in their city. There's a pause and a silent pause and they are not sure. The fact of the matter is, they might not be where they are today. Then I say, what about young people that you are currently not reaching. So we are very excited about this very ambitious goal to reach about 10 million additional young people between now and 2017.
And why is that so important? Many of you may or may not know that 30 percent of young people in this country don't graduate from high school. In certain communities, 50 to 70 percent do not graduate from high school. We know from other organizations, that if we do three things with these young people, there is that there is a high probability they will graduate from high school. One is that we help them manage their emotions so they don't have to go to the principal's office and not get expelled from a class; give them a confidence to do very well in English or math; and give them the enjoyment and excitement about school, so we reduce their truancy. If we do those things at the elementary school level, there's a high probability that they will have the confidence and the enthusiasm to move through middle school and onto high school.
That's why we are so excited as part of this overall program to not only increase the golf platform from 750 locations where we believe are life skills, but we want to get to 10,000, 11,000 elementary schools, particularly schools that feed some of these high-drop out high schools. And in addition we want to increase the number of volunteers, the number of coaches, the number of adults who are involved with our program.
The fact of the matter is, we want to impact the young people and influence them and inspire adults to be involved with what we are doing it. It's a very important focus and a very important drive, because as Jim suggests, it's really about us caring about the young people. It's really about us as a community coming together and recognizing the importance of us contributing back in a way that's extraordinary.
When you meet a young person who is participating in The First Tee, you're going to meet a young person who is caring. You're going to meet a young person who understands responsibility. You are going to understand and meet a young person who appreciates the importance of giving back and the responsibility of contributing to their communities in a broader sense.
How many of our young people have graduated from The First Tee but they are back at their chapters mentoring the younger individuals? How many of our young people are going off to college and coming back between freshman and sophomore and junior years in college working at their chapters? That's the level of responsibility because we have given something to them and they understand the importance of giving back. That's what's driving us and what motivates us and that's what really makes this announcement so significant, because we are having a very ambitious aspirational goal, and the nice thing about The First Tee is we do set these goals and we meet these goals.
What we do with young people through our coach program is extraordinary. But we also are very metrics-driven in terms of setting our objectives so we can reach so many young people.
So I'm delighted that Jim and Tim have embraced this, that many, many of our trustees are excited about the campaign. It's going to be a lot of effort over the next several months, but we are very, very confident that this is something that needs done and we are committed to doing it.
To give you perspective about the impact First Tee has on one of our participants, I have asked Andrea Wong from The First Tee of San Francisco to share the level of impact The First Tee has had on her.
ANDREA WONG: It's an honor to be here today to talk about The First Tee. I joined The First Tee when I was about 11 years old, and since then, it's made a huge impact on my life. The lessons that I've learned from my coaches have taught me to be more responsible and a better leader. Without The First Tee I would not be the confident young woman standing here in front of you today. I learned a sport that I can play for the rest of my life but more importantly I've learned values that will serve me well for a live time.
Through The First Tee I've learned to respect my playing partners, surroundings and myself. I've learned to look someone in the eye when I meet them and give them a firm handshake. I've learned to be a good mentor to the younger members of our program. And the list could truly go on but we don't have all day.
The First Tee teaches me everything that I need to succeed in life and I'm so happy that this campaign is going to make The First Tee able to reach millions more young people with the same life skills and education that I have received.
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to speak to you today. And for all of the great lessons and experiences that I have had as a result of The First Tee. Thank you.
BRIAN HAMMONS: Well done, Andrea. Thank you very much. You can see, would we have thought that when The First Tee was announced in 1997, that we would be here making this historic announcement. Now, having observed The First Tee over the years and observing the young people that will be participating this week, I am constantly impressed with the poise that they show, and what we asked them to do this week is certainly not easy. Many of these players will be putting their game on display on national television, and at some point Billy Ray Brown is going to shove a microphone under your nose and ask what we hope is a coherent question, and year after year they come up sounding like Andrea. It's amazing the confidence and poise these young kids show playing in the tournament. Our young people are definitely in a better place for this First Tee Program. We look forward to monitoring The First Tee campaign for 10 million people.
You know what that means, we have to find some more golf courses and expand the field because we will have more participant, people like this that are going to want to play in this tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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