First Tee Program inspires young golfers Thanks for the...

Letters

October 14, 2001

First Tee Program inspires young golfers

Thanks for the recent article on the First Tee Program ("Kids golf effort hits hole in one," Oct. 7). This summer I had the joy of watching First Tee, a program dedicated to educating youth from 8-18 about the sport of golf, unfold at the Columbia Association's Fairway Hills Golf Club. I also had the opportunity to talk with the young players. They were all ages, races, levels of abilities, and there were equal numbers of males and females. Part of First Tee's discipline is to require written quizzes to monitor the students' accomplishments. Almost all of youngsters in the session I observed completed the program and signed up for the next level.

I learned that one youth from Kings Contrivance took a bus at 10 a.m. to be at Fairway Hills for a 1 p.m. class. He stated that he wanted this so badly, and his parents worked, so taking a three-hour bus ride in the morning and a two-hour ride home in the afternoon was his only option. After learning of his effort, I offered to take him home each afternoon.

A mother explained to me that her youngest son was really excited about the program but her older son was not. After the first lesson, I observed the older child hitting the ball 150 yards. He had hidden talents and was a natural. Enthused to find out how good he was, he gained a new attitude and left the first lesson stating that he might be the next Tiger Woods.

There are many stories, but the point is that until you witness the merits of the First Tee program from the point of view of the youth it serves, you cannot really appreciate this magnificent addition to Columbia. Despite its far-reaching potential, the cost to the community for this program is almost nothing. CA provides First Tee with a home at Fairway Hills, but First Tee itself absorbs all the costs. On behalf of the more than 100 youth of Columbia who participated this past summer, I say thanks to First Tee, the Columbia Association, and my fellow Council members for seeing to it that this wonderful program has a home in Columbia.

Pearl Atkinson-Stewart

Columbia

New security measures won't end our freedoms

A strong and viable concern of all American citizens in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 has been one of how our way of life will be changed in the future. People wonder about how our privacy and freedom of movement will be affected. Undoubtedly, we will all experience new and different situations to deal with.

Having lived on military bases for 20 of the last 23 years, I believe that the security procedures the average American citizen will be required to adhere to will not be as dramatic, or inconvenient, as we first believe. All military personnel, and their families, carry ID cards, and show them to security personnel often. We allow our cars to be screened when necessary, and in choosing to refuse that requirement, we understand that we will not to be allowed into the military installation. In essence, we understand the need for these procedures and have adapted to this minor inconvenience.

Change will be difficult to deal with at first. However, as anyone who has traveled in Europe and discussed the need for protection from terrorism in those countries will attest, many peoples of the world live with certain restrictions and still thrive under the protection of civil liberties.

Reed H. Kohberger

Columbia

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