From Participants To Mentors

We always love receiving updates from participants who have gone through our programs. In the case of two “alums” – Sterling Simmons and Brittany Woo – we’re getting to see their updates first-hand…they joined our team in 2020! Read below to hear more from Sterling and Brittany and learn how First Tee shaped them into who they are as mentors and why they chose to give back to the organization based upon their experiences in the program as youth participants.

Sterling Simmons, Player Development Instructor

Old Dominion University, 2018 – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
In His Words
Sterling as a youth participant at First Tee.
The reason that I am giving back to our First Tee community is to help create special moments with participants the way my coach did for me when I was growing up. I remember volunteering with my old coach one day for a PLAYer class, and we were on the range about to start an activity. He asked me to demonstrate hitting a shot on the range, and I remembered I was really nervous to hit in front of the other participants. As I stepped up to the ball, he said, ‘You’ve got this,’ and in that moment I truly believed in myself. I proceeded to crush the ball down the middle of the range, and I walked back with a big smile on my face. He gave me a fist bump and told me it was a nice shot. After that, we didn’t talk about it, but that moment between us has always stuck with me, and I know when I hit in front of people I just think back to that moment and I have confidence in myself. I want to help create these small moments that have a big impact on our participants that they will remember for their lifetime.

Brittany Woo,  Director of Programming

University of Richmond, 2018 — Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; currently earning her Master of Nonprofit Studies at the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies
In Her Words
Brittany as a youth participant at First Tee.
First Tee — Greater Richmond has given me so many opportunities as a participant and continues to do so as a working professional in the ‘real world’ and an alumna of the organization. When my dad signed up for golf class 17 years ago, no one could’ve imagined it would lead into a leadership role within the organization itself. There are many moments that shaped or guided my First Tee experience as a participant, older sister of other First Tee participants, volunteer, coach, intern at the First Tee HQ and in my current role as the Director of Programming. One of those moments was when my First Tee coach at the time told me I was his on his ‘go-to’ team. As a 13-year-old participant, this meant the absolute world to me. Having my mentor tell me I was on his team meant the absolute world to me. I gained so much confidence and felt self-worth within the greater community. Another moment was when my First Tee coach came to one of my high school golf tournaments. I was not having the greatest front nine, but after a pep talk at the turn, I was able to shoot even par on the back nine. Having my First Tee coach support me in all of my endeavors, even outside of First Tee, was something I truly cherished growing up. These are very small moments, but ones that stick in my mind of what makes a great coach and mentor. My inspiration for giving back to First Tee — Greater Richmond is so I can also be that mentor in a young person’s life. I’m inspired by the young community and the great potential they have. Giving them the opportunity to grow, learn, lead and be the best they can be through the game of golf is what I strive for every day.