Cheltenham freshman Charli Jones has the opportunity of a lifetime. She will be representing The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia at the 2020 Chubb Classic Golf to Paradise – First Tee Champions Challenge in Naples, Florida from Feb. 13-16.
Jones was selected for an essay she wrote about the First Tee.
“I wrote about the main life skills that have impacted me the most,” she said. “I said respect. That’s the biggest one for me. I just feel it’s very important. You should always respect others and you should be respected.
“I was very excited (when I found out I was selected). I’m really excited to meet new kids who are in the First Tee and also to travel down to Florida where it’s warm.”
The First Tee is a youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people. Through after school and in-school programs, they help shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf. The First Tee helps young men and women become better golfers but more importantly better people.
"We're all so proud of Charli and she represents all we hope our students aspire to be," The First Tee of Greater Philadephia's Executive Director Bill Hyndman said. "We have watched her grow into not only a great golfer, but a great young lady. I know that Charli, and her teammate, Julian, will represent The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia to the highest degree."
Jones has been involved with the First Tee since she was 5 years old. Her grandfather Andy Pinckney helped her get started with the First Tee at the Walnut Lane Golf Club location. Now 14 years old, she has benefitted both on and off the golf course from her time with the organization.
“It’s helped me become who I am and who I can be,” she said. “It’s taught me lessons on the golf course and in real life.”
“(Charli) has grown immensely,” Meika Jones, Charli’s mother, said. “The confidence she has and then with this great organization you learn so much about those core values, you learn about respect. It’s been a wonderful experience. They have exposed her to so many different courses and people and they’re a great family. We’ve had a really great experience with the First Tee and they’ve exposed her to so many things and made her a better person because of that.”
The Golf to Paradise event, a three-day competition, gives two participants from 12 different First Tee chapters an opportunity to play at Quail Creek Country Club and Lely Resort.
Julian Cuirlino, a sophomore at Roman Catholic, will also be representing The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia.