Summer Volunteer Training

Interested in learning about The First Tee of Fresno?

Then join us for our volunteer training at Airways Golf course on June 4 from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon.  Training is for new, current, and former First Tee volunteers.  During training you will have fun, while learning about The First Tee of Fresno’s mission and teaching philosophy.  NO golf experience necessary.  Lunch will be provided!

Please click here to register.


2016 Volunteer of the Year

Danielle Lopez

Danielle is in her 4th year volunteering with The First Tee of Fresno.  Over the years she has worn many hats: she chaperons our out-of-town field trips to Monterey and Pebble Beach; she helps us run Family BBQs; she donates her time to recruit volunteers for our programs; she coaches in our Middle School Programs that requires her to volunteer for an entire school day. Danielle is one of those volunteers who seems to always say “YES, I will help!”  Coach Marvin, who has worked closely with Danielle over the past four years says, “Danielle exemplifies what being a volunteer and role model is all about.  She has been my right hand person at the middle schools for over two years and I sincerely appreciate all that she has done.  Danielle is more than a volunteer, she is a true friend.” Congratulations Danielle!

Why you should volunteer in 2016

Think about the last time you volunteered your time and talents to an important effort or cause. How did it make you feel? With the busy lives we lead, just the thought of volunteering might seem overwhelming, but in reality it could be very beneficial. It’s easy to think about the positive impact that volunteers have on others, but we don’t often consider how rewarding it can be for a volunteer to reach out and make a difference in someone’s life. As we approach the summer solstice, put those many hours of daylight to good use. Here are five good reasons for seniors and caregivers alike to volunteer:

1. Find Meaning and Purpose at Any Age: Sharing what you’ve learned with others can be a rewarding opportunity to give back. It’s also an opportunity not relegated to the young. Between 2009 and 2011, the average national volunteer rate of older adults was 23.9% per year, as compared to baby boomers at 29.2% and young adults at 22.1%. Average older adult volunteer rates for states ranged from 17.4% to 39.3%. For older adults, a study showed that formal volunteering moderated the loss of a sense of purpose for those who had experienced the loss of major role identities, such as wage-earner and parent. Residents, and family members of residents, at Sunrise Senior Living volunteer through ongoing community service projects. At Sunrise, there are many family members who volunteer as ‘family buddies’ to give advice and encouragement to families of new residents in Reminiscence Memory Care Neighborhoods. They say that they receive satisfaction in knowing they are helping others and that sharing their own personal stories is therapeutic.

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Spring Volunteer Training

Interested in learning about The First Tee of Fresno?

Then join us for our volunteer training at River Park Golf Center on February 27 from 9:00 – 12:00 noon.  Training is for new, current, and former First Tee volunteers.  During training you will have fun, while learning about The First Tee of Fresno’s mission and teaching philosophy.  NO golf experience necessary.  Lunch will be provided!

Please click here to register.Marvin

Volunteer Spotlight: Mario Yep

My name is Mario Yep and I not only volunteer at The First Tee of Fresno as a coach and but also volunteer at events throughout the year.  I heard about The First Tee of Fresno a couple of years ago at Riverside Golf Course and asked my son if he wanted to join. I explained to him that it was not only about learning golf skills but also about learning the First Tee Code of Conduct and the Nine Core Values. He started the program in 2014 at the PLAYer level and has continued to participate through 2015 at the Par level.

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Kings For The Week

We recently sent two of our volunteer coaches – Brian Whaley and Brian Rabena – to Level II First Tee Coach Training in Sacramento.  The training was hosted by The First Tee of Greater Sacramento and took place at Haggin Oaks Golf Course.  Both coaches had previously attended Level I training, a requirement to attend Level II.  Whaley and Rabena both coach classes in Fresno on Saturdays, at Bluff Pointe and Airways respectively.  If you see either coach thank them for their commitment to our programs and congratulate them on attending Level II Coach Training.

Rabena (left) Whaley (right)

Rabena (left) Whaley (right)

Whaley Recounts His Experience Below

“The coach training was good, very much along the same lines as Level I, but emphasized Birdie Level Life Skills such as STAR (Stop, Think, Anticipate, Respond).  We had a wide range of coaches – age and geographic location. It was fun meeting new people, and speaking strictly for my group, we wound up doing a lot of laughing and joking among one another like we had known each other for quite a while…. Goal setting, a Birdie Level Life Skill, was one of the new concepts introduced, and we learned how to use the goal setting continuum and to differentiate between process, performance and product.  Hopefully Brian [Rabena] and I can both use the training to boost our level of coaching along with having the ability to coach birdie classes when needed…” Coach Whaley

It's all in the hips!

It’s all in the hips!

A Day In Paradise

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Getting back into the swing of things is never easy after the weekend we had in paradise.  This past Saturday 80 First Tee of Fresno participants traveled to Pebble Beach Golf Links to watch our very own, Michael Cliff, play in the Nature Valley First Tee Open.  The participants arrived at Pebble Beach in the morning, and after a quick meeting, were able to explore the course and grab lunch.  After a quick lunch break, all participants and volunteers surrounded the first tee at Pebble Beach, to show support for Michael’s opening tee shot.  Once Michael teed off, 150 strong followed and cheered him on for the first eight holes.


Unfortunately, they could not stay with him for the duration of his round, because the participants had an event to attend at the Chevron STEM Zone.  They had a first-hand experience with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) exhibits.  Activities included shooting basketballs with glasses that blurred ones vision.  At the end of the day, everybody was exhausted and climbed onto the bus with their #TeamCliffy hats signed by Michael Cliff.  We can’t wait to experience Pebble Beach and cheer on our participant next year!

Group Shot

We’d like the thank the following volunteers for dedicating your Saturday to give our participants an unforgettable experience at Pebble Beach: Brian Whaley, Eric & Janelle Paolinelli, Carlie Gantar, Glenn Rogers, Mario Yep, Kay Hamiliton , Cecil Spurlock, Jon Moore, Danielle Cash, Garrett Bader, Greg Pena, Duane Evans, Ren Grossman, Brian Rabena, Chris Marquez, Linda Cavazos, & Randy Van Ornam.

Home Run!

Participants and coaches alike had a great time this past Saturday at The Dinuba SportsPlex.   For many of the participants this was their first time playing golf.  Indoor activities ranged from short game practice in batting cages to a golf course on a soccer field.  The highlight of the event was a SNAG Golf baseball game.  The children played against the volunteers, which led to an exciting, evenly matched game.  We look forward to having similar events in the future!

Thanks to the following volunteers for making the event possible: Ken, Madchen, Kay, Cecil, Greg, Brian, Jose, Duane, Ren, Mario, and the SportsPlex staff.  Also, thanks to The Dinuba SportsPlex for allowing us to use their facility.

SNAG Golf Baseball Game

SNAG Golf Baseball Game

Congratulations to Christine Erickson, our May volunteer of the month!

Christine works tirelessly to keep our participant database up-to-date.  Also, The Ericksons annually support our programs and volunteer at events.  Thanks for supporting The First Tee of Fresno!

No Volunteer Left Hungry.

This past Saturday, May 30th, we filled our volunteers with food and life skills knowledge!

Volunteer Training

At Airways Golf Club we had a volunteer training for new, former, and current volunteers.  We had 11 volunteers in attendance, 4 of whom are current Assistant Golf and Life Skills Coaches.  The training allowed volunteers to experience our Life Skills Curriculum through activities focused on perseverance and target-awareness.  Not only did they have fun, but thanks to the wonderful staff at Airways Golf Club, they built their own sub sandwich for lunch!  Thanks to all the volunteers who attended!

Lesson Planning Session

Following the volunteer training, we had a lesson planning session at our Learning Center.  Thanks to the following volunteers and coaches for attending: Gary Ellis, Ryan and Eric Paolinelli, Marvin Wiggs, Brian Rabena, and Kenny Robinson.  As a group we wrote four lesson plans for PLAYer classes, all with original activities that incorporate various golf fundamentals, life skills and core values.  We look forward to implementing these new activities this summer!

Participant and Volunteer Kenny Testing a New Activity for Summer Programming.

Participant and Volunteer Kenny Testing a New Activity for Summer Programming.

BBQ, Yogurt, and Fruit, OH MY!

What a great weekend for our participants!  Friday night our A/B Honor Roll event celebrated the academic achievement of participants who received all A’s and B’s on their report cards.  Following the award presentation, participants, families and volunteers celebrated by eating frozen yogurt, donated by Menchie’s.  Out of approximately 180 National First Tee chapters, The First Tee of Fresno ranked second in the nation, with regards to the number of participants receiving the award.  Great job to all our participants and families for their dedication to academic excellence!

A/B Honor Roll Celebration!

A/B Honor Roll Celebration!

On Saturday, we celebrated the end of the spring session with our Annual Spring Family BBQ & Certification Day.  We had plenty of food and fun to go-around.  Meats 2 U provided us with Tri-Tip and hot dogs, and we provided fruit as a healthy side option, instead of the typical bag of chips.  Thanks to all the families who attended the event on Saturday, and congratulations to all the participants who passed certification.  We look forward to starting the summer session on June 15th!  See you out there!

SNAG Golf Range at The Spring Family BBQ

SNAG Golf Range at The Spring Family BBQ

We’d like to thank the following volunteers for making our events possible this weekend:

The Pena Family, Rosie Filgas, Danielle Lopez, Brian Whaley, Mario Yep, Eric Paolinelli, Laura Andrews, Kay Hamilton, Kaleb Brown, Madchen Ly, The Rabena Family, The Firpo Family, Jon Moore, Mario Yep, Katie Horsford, Ren Grossman & everyone else who lent a hand this weekend!

Thank you to Menchie’s and Meats 2 U for donating food for our events!

Thank you to Tom from Island Photography for taking A/B Honor Roll Pictures!