The First Tee of Cleveland
2017 NCYS STRIVE Award Winner

Cleveland, Ohio

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"Keep kids on course with 9 Core Values & 9 Healthy Habits!"

The First Tee of Cleveland is a Chapter of The First Tee®, a national initiative begun in 1997. Our mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

We positively impact children in Northeast Ohio through our curriculum delivered at four area golf courses. There is no better way to sum up what we do and how we do it than to simply correlate STRIVE in every aspect!


Our participants experience a seamless golf and character education program, promoting physical activity, introducing them to a lifelong sport and embedding core values and wellness in every lesson.

Our programs are based on progressive and developmentally appropriate curricula created with the help of experts in positive youth development, sport psychology and physical education. Golf is a lifelong sport, and we work on creating good golfers - great people.


Our programs are unique because The First Tee coaches are trained in positive youth development and create an environment that is safe, yet challenging. Golf is a perfect venue to seamlessly deliver this activity-based program.

All adults delivering our programs - coaches, physical educators and youth leaders - receive professional development training based on four building blocks: (1) activity-based learning (experiential learning environments); (2) mastery-driven (balancing the focus on process with the outcome); (3) empowering youth for decision-making (positive relationships and a student-centered approach); and (4) continuous learning (engaging in feedback and coachable moments).


The First Tee Code of Conduct: Respect Myself, Respect Others, Respect My Surroundings


Positive youth development is built on the foundation of evidence-based research that views young people as opportunities for developing competencies rather than as problems to be managed. Young people who develop physical health, character, social and emotional qualities, and behavioral characteristics are more likely to become successfully functioning members of society.


At the core of The First Tee programs are Nine Core Values - honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, courtesy, sportsmanship, confidence, judgment and perseverance - which are essential for young people to make positive choices and overcome challenges across all areas of their lives. Additionally, concepts around healthy choices (Nine Healthy Habits) reinforce the importance of physical, social and emotional wellness.


Results from an independent, longitudinal study of participants in The First Tee Life Skills Experience confirmed what experts in these arenas are seeing. Students found that they were able to: stay positive when frustrated with homework; set goals to get better grades; and, look for solutions to problems with peers. In the same study, 73% reported high confidence in their ability to do well academically, and 82% felt confident in their social skills with peers because of their involvement in The First Tee..

In our view, young people do not care what an adult knows until they know the adult cares.

2016 Impact

  • 821 Participants
  • 65 Trained Volunteer Coaches
  • 22 Elementary Schools
  • 8 Outreach / Community Partners

Please vote to help us "keep kids on course!"

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"Keep kids on course with 9 Core Values & 9 Healthy Habits!"

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