First Tee program launches in West Plains, Mo.

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 8:36 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - The First Tee program goes beyond the game of golf, it teaches kids about the game of life.

The nine-week program focuses on core values, including honesty, integrity, respect, and perserverance. Kids not only learn to play golf, they learn life skills that stay with them into the rest of their lives, like:

  • Understanding and managing emotions
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Setting up step-by-step goals
  • Planning for the future
  • Appreciating diversity

Rachel Libby, a former golf coach at West Plains High School, helped her father, Roger Cyr, bring the program to West Plains.

“Each time they come out, we’re going to try and really focus on one of those core values and hopefully they can walk away with a little better understanding of what it takes not only to be a good golfer but just a good person,” she said.

Roger Cyr shares his daughter’s enthusiasm for golf, and for the First Tee program.

“I’ve played golf 52 years,” said Cyr. “It’s a great sport. Knowing that some of the kids may pick the game up and develop a love for it, that’d be great, but more important are the values that hopefully we can model and impart to the kids as they’re in the program.”

The only other First Tee program in Missouri is in St. Charles, near St. Louis. Thanks to several community sponsors, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater West Plains, and a couple of enthusiastic golfers, kids in third through eighth grades now have a chance to participate. Cyr said he hopes to eventually expand the program to include older kids, and maybe even start a chapter in southern Missouri.

“I love that they learn hands-on skills, they’re learning a lifetime sport that they can play from five years old to 95-years-old, but more than anything they are teaching our kids values that are going to go with them the rest of their lives,” said Elisabeth Cawthon, program director for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater West Plains.

Tuesday’s class was just for kids enrolled in the Boys and Girls Club. A class for the general public starts Thursday, and Cyr said there are spots left. For information, call the North Terra golf course in West Plains, at (417) 256-9824.

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