Volunteer of the Month – April 2015

The First Tee of Fresno would like to congratulate and thank Ken Robison for being our volunteer of the month!  Ken not only impacts our participants as a coach at Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club, but has volunteered his time to coach and assist at special events throughout the year, helping us impact even more young people.  He’s a great ambassador for our program in Tulare County because of the his passion for golf, but more importantly because of his dedication to teach young people life skills.

Coach Ken coaching at the California National Guard event.

Coach Ken teaching at the California National Guard event.

Volunteers of The Month – March 2015

The First Tee of Fresno would like to congratulate and thank Danielle Lopez & MaryAnn Lopez for being our volunteers of the month!  Throughout the year they have shown a commitment to continually impact the students in our middle school program.  Lead Coach, Marvin Wiggs, explains their impact below.

“Danielle and MaryAnn are Golf and Life Skills Coaches for Sequoia Middle School.  They work closely with school administrators, teachers, and security.  They deliver lesson plans, set-up activities, and mentor girls and boys at the school.  Their dedication is a valuable asset to our middle school program. MaryAnn and Danielle are a pleasure to work with and both are a lot of fun. Their weekly commitment throughout the school year allows us to maintain high quality programming at Sequoia Middle School”

-Marvin Wiggs, Lead Coach

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

The forecast this past Saturday, February 28th, called for rain.  Fortunately, the rain never made its way to Airways Golf Course for our outreach event with the California National Guard.  The theme of the event was perseverance and resiliency skills.  Participants learned this by playing Zoo Golf, and hit shots like various animals.  For example, they swung with one arm like resembling an elephant’s trunk and attempted to make a swing as a bat, blindfolded.  Participants soon realized, during this activity, anybody can play golf, even if physically disabled.  Other core values seamlessly taught during the event were responsibility and sportsmanship.  Overall, coaches and participants had a lot of fun and we hope to continue our partnership with the California National Guard in the future.  We’d like to thank the following volunteers and staff members for their hard-work on Saturday: Shavon, Marvin, Jon, Bonnie, Kate, Ken, Mario, Ryan, Duane, and Mike.

Bridge to Life with our volunteers and participants.

Bridge to Life with our volunteers and participants.

“I’ll have teriyaki chicken with a side of life skills.”

“Wow!” Coach Brian Rabena’s first word to describe his experience at The First Tee’s Level I Coach Training in Oakland last week.  Brian recounts his experience below…


I had a blast meeting new coaches and making friends from around the country who share the same interest I do, The First Tee.  The amazing home office staff members who trained me included: Erick, Chris, Joe, Colleen, and Linda. The positive energy and comradery all week was unforgettable!  I learned to work with coaches from other chapters, and together we worked tirelessly to create successful lesson plans for The First Tee of Oakland’s participants!  Even as I write this paragraph, my inbox is filling up with emails from coaches who attended the training! Crazy!  I learned so much that my brain hurt while driving home from Oakland to Fresno.

Brian testing out a new lesson plan.

Brian testing a new, activity-based lesson.

Most importantly, I had a blast working with the players!  I learned a lot of new ideas that I will incorporate into my own lesson plans at Airways Golf Course.  Sometimes as coaches, we tend to tell them [participants] too much information, rather than allowing them to discover things on their own.  I learned the importance of “Doing vs.Telling” and using proper “First Tee” language, as a Lead Golf and Life Skills Coach.

Brian (back row) with The First Tee of Oakland participants.

Brian (back row) with The First Tee of Oakland participants.

My favorite memory was having dinner at Yoshinos the night before our last day of training.  We had a good time and talked at length about my two favorite things, The First Tee, and golf of course!  What I hope to bring back from my experience is the ability to utilize some of my thoughts and ideas, learned for Level I training, to impact more youth in our community!  Can’t wait to attend Level II training!

-Brian Rabena

Swinging for the Fences in Dinuba

This past weekend, at Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club, we had a Family Fun Day.  Despite the cold, foggy weather our volunteers made the best of the day to ensure our participants had a blast.  In total, we had 6 participants throughout the day; two golfed for almost three hours, and will be joining our program in Dinuba this spring.  We’d like to thank the Rincons, Yesuly, Ken, Marvin, and Christina for introducing families of Dinuba to The First Tee.

Mark teaching a first-time to let the "Big Dog" eat!

First Tee participant & coach, Mark Rincon, teaching a first-time golfer to let the “Big Dog” eat!

Our Coaches Rock!

Coach Gerry Nikkel and Coach Brian Rabena are currently attending Level I Coach Training in Oakland, CA.  Both coaches are now enrolled in the The First Tee Coach Program, an educational training program that prepares staff and volunteers at chapters of The First Tee to deliver The First Tee Life Skills Experience. The First Tee Coach Program relies on developing a philosophy that supports and enhances The First Tee Life Skills Experience.  Both Coach Gerry and Coach Brian are veteran coaches with The First Tee of Fresno.  Coach Gerry is the Lead Golf and Life Skills Coach at Madera Municipal Golf Course and Coach Brian is one of the Lead Golf and Life Skills Coaches at Airways Golf Course.  We cannot wait until they share what they’ve learned with our staff, coaches, and most importantly our participants!

Coach Gerry and Coach Brian

Thank you Coach Gerry (left) and Coach Brian (right) for your dedication to The First Tee of Fresno!

Hello Fresno!

You’ll find everything you need to know about upcoming volunteer opportunities, the life of our volunteers, and who is helping us positively impact youth in Fresno, Madera, and Tulare Counties.