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Springfield College Maintains Strong Partnership with the First Tee

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Associate Professor of Physical Education Thaddeus France recently joined golfing legend Arnold Palmer as one of the two individual recipients of the 2015 the First Tee Founder’s Award.

The award is given to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the First Tee, a youth-development organization that uses the game of golf as a platform to help youth acquire life skills, core values, and healthy habits. France received his award during the First Tee’s 2015 network meeting recently held in Dallas.

Springfield College’s long-standing involvement with the First Tee dates back to 1998 when Psychology Professor Al Petitpas served as a member of the development team that created the original life-skills curriculum and coach-education program.

In 2012, the Springfield College Center for Youth Development and Research was selected to become the content provider for ‘family,’ one of the First Tee’s ‘nine healthy habits.’ This initiative contributed content and educational resources on topics such as the role parents can play in promoting academic and school engagement, communication skills, and healthy family dynamics. The other eight habits are energy, play, safety, vision, mind, friends, school, and community.

France and Petitpas also organized and facilitated the First Tee Outstanding Participant Leadership Summit, in which a select group of 28 youths from across the First Tee’s network of chapters and affiliates came together in Dallas to enhance their leadership skills and create strategies to address social problems that they identified in their local communities. This project is an extension of France and Petitpas’ collaboration to build a model for community-based youth development that connects in-school, after-school, and summer learning programs in communities across the country.

The First Tee Program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth-development organization with a mission 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. The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools, and at other youth-serving locations.

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