My name is Kyle Caron and I am a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, having received my Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management. This past summer, I interned with The First Tee of Connecticut in Cromwell, Conn., this region’s chapter of the international First Tee organization. The First Tee is an organization that focuses on teaching the game of golf and instilling important life skills in young players. During my time there, I was able to gain experience in many aspects of running a non-profit organization such as marketing, financial development and community outreach.
For the first half of my internship, I worked in several community outreach efforts. This included going to different golf courses to teach clinics to children who may have not had access to the game otherwise as well as attending networking and marketing fairs to organize demo stations for kids to play in while I explained to their parents what The First Tee is all about. I also spent time volunteering at various tournaments throughout the state, as a representative of the organization, to help foster relationships with local golf clubs to attempt to spread the word about our programs and attract new students. I spent the second half of my internship working as a counselor for our Summer Camp program where I supervised campers and taught them ways and techniques to improve their game.
My time spent with The First Tee of Connecticut allowed me to learn more about what it takes to run a golf and youth development organization, specifically a non-profit one. As a non-profit organization targeted at kids who want to learn the game, I saw how creating relationships with other organizations in the community could be just as beneficial to an organization’s reputation as a large marketing campaign. I also saw the impact that sports can have on the development of a child’s life by teaching them ethics and values to live by such as respect, perseverance and integrity. Many of the kids who came up through The First Tee program are now successful college students with plenty of accolades and scholarships that reflect the character that our programs assisted in building. Because of the effects I saw due to children’s involvement with The First Tee, I would like to further pursue a career in sport-based youth development and try to make that same difference in the lives of future generations. Working with The First Tee of Connecticut was a valuable and enriching experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
Written by: Maddy Hooper
My name is Maddy Hooper and I am from West Hartford, Conn. I did my summer internship at The First Tee of Connecticut, which is located in Cromwell on the grounds of TPC River Highlands. I first saw the position of Community Outreach Intern for this summer in one of the Sport Management weekly newsletters. I noticed it one day over Christmas break and immediately emailed Mark, my boss from this summer, and sent in my application. I interviewed for the position at the end of March and found out a week later that I gotten the position.
I did a lot of different things this summer. In my first few weeks before the kids came for the summer, we worked with children after school and completed tasks around the office. A few of the big projects that I completed during this time were reorganizing all of the closets and storage spaces in our building. The week before school got out was the week of the Travelers Championship. This was truly the busiest week of my life. We ran a ton of events that week and worked all over the course during the pro-am and tournament. This week was really cool for me because I met tons of important people in the golf world including the president of the PGA Paul Levy, and many professional golfers, such as Rory Mclroy and Paul Casey. Once school got out, I really began the work that I did this summer. For the remainder of the summer, I spent most of my time at different summer camps all over the state giving golf lessons. I went to places like Camp Courant, Channel 3 Kids Camp and Boys and Girls Club of New Haven.
My main takeaway from this summer is that it’s important to be helpful in every way possible. I became really close with everyone that I worked with and the full-time employees called me “the best intern ever.” I think they called me this because I was willing to do anything they asked me to do and did everything to the best of my ability, even if some days this was just sorting golf balls and moving cases of water. You can really leave your mark in a place by doing more then what is asked of you and making positive and friendly impressions. I hope to use the skills that I learned this summer and bring them with me as I pursue a career in non-profit youth development. The First Tee or any organization similar is where I would love to end up after graduation.