It’s been one month since our inaugural Champions Challenge, and I still get emotional looking at the photos. This event took almost a year to plan, and it would not have been possible without the help and support of so many people – especially the rock star 4th graders that competed!
About a month or so into my new job at The First Tee of Charlotte, I was browsing YouTube and watching videos posted by other chapters in order to get a better idea of what The First Tee does. I stumbled upon a video posted by The First Tee of Greater Houston entitled “Champions Challenge.” After watching intently, I ran and burst into Kaitlyn and Ike’s office yelling “We have GOT to do this!” Without hesitation, they, and Coach B, were on board 100%.
May 6, 2015 arrived, and along with it came over 250 volunteers and PE teachers plus 90 4th grade Champions and their parents, one professional bagpiper, and one giant Hornet named Hugo. It was a perfect Carolina spring day at the Charles Sifford Golf Course. The sun was shining and the air was warm. It was an excellent day for golf.
The Champions were grouped into 9 teams, and each had a Team Captain to lead them through the course. The excitement in the air was contagious as the teams and the PE teachers gathered behind the pavilion anxiously waiting for the challenge to begin. There was a hush across the course, and then the sound of bagpipes as the Champions marched down to putting green for the opening ceremony. It was an incredible feeling to see these 4th graders walking tall and proud representing their school.
The course was made up of 3 stations: 9 Healthy Habits, Birdie Ball GolfZilla, and the 9-Hole SNAG Challenge. The teams rotated through each station competing in the fun challenges. The SNAG course challenges were scored, so there was a lot of enthusiasm and a lot focus in that area. Carolinas HealthCare Systems sponsored the 9 Healthy Habits station in which the Champions played some interactive games and learned how to keep their bodies strong and healthy. Birdie Ball brought out “GolfZilla” which is a giant, inflatable dinosaur. The Champions showed off their full-swing skills by driving Birdie Balls at the creature. It was a blast!
There was one moment in the day that Kaitlyn and I met in the middle of it all and just stood there to take it all in. We looked over at the 9-Hole SNAG Course and saw the teams high-fiving each other and cheering each other on. They were playing with such confidence and sportsmanship. Up at the 9 Healthy Habits Station, the Champions were moving and grooving and dancing with the CHS volunteers. At the same time, we could hear bursts of applause from the range every time a Champion hit GolfZilla. To finish the day off, the Champions met back on the green to indulge in some well-deserved Chick-Fil-A sandwiches while Hugo the Hornet entertained.
Through the unwavering support of CMS, Fort Mill School District, Cabarrus County, and Lincoln County Schools, PLUS the support of our sponsors, board members, and volunteers, the 2015 Champions Challenge was truly a success.
We can’t wait until next year!!! Watch our video here!
2015 Champion Schools
We’d like to offer special thanks to the following:
Carolinas HealthCare Systems
Middleton Myers Mechanical
Episode XI Studios