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The First Tee Recognizes Arnold Palmer & Others at Biennial Network Meeting

March 16, 2015

St. Augustine, Fla. (March 16, 2015) – The First Tee recognized many outstanding contributors to the organization during its biennial Network Meeting in Dallas, Texas March 12-14. World Golf Hall of Fame member and The First Tee Trustee Arnold Palmer received the Founder’s Award, along with Nature Valley, the Florida Junior Golf Council and Thaddeus France III, Ed.D, a professor at Springfield College who has helped develop The First Tee Coach Program.

Ken Morton, Sr., chairman emeritus of The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, was honored with the Jack Stephens Leadership Award for his outstanding service, leadership and commitment to the organization’s mission.  

Kristin Wirtanen, a volunteer with The First Tee of Connecticut, received the George H.W. Bush/Shell Oil Company “Volunteer of the Year” award for her outstanding volunteerism and contributions. Wirtanen has been an avid volunteer for the chapter for five years.

The First Tee 2015 Network Meeting was held at Hyatt Regency Dallas March 12-14. The event included record-setting attendance from The First Tee’s chapters with more than 800 on-site, including more than 250 volunteer board members. The event featured several keynote speakers, educational breakouts and best practice-sharing networking sessions. The event concluded on Saturday night, March 14, with a Gala Dinner emceed by CBS Sports and Golf Channel personality David Feherty.

Concurrent to the meeting was The First Tee Outstanding Participant Leadership Summit which brought 28 teenage participants in for three days of leadership and networking. At the Gala Dinner, Robyn Battles from The First Tee of Ft. Worth and Carlo Carino from The First Tee of Greater New Orleans each received $20,000 scholarships from Shell Oil Company, The First Tee’s Founding Corporate Partner. Six other teenagers each received $2,500 scholarships.

“The First Tee would not be where it is today without many incredible and dedicated leaders serving the organization, chapters and young people in communities,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee. “It is a privilege to recognize these individuals on behalf of The First Tee.”

For more information about The First Tee, visit

About The First Tee
The First Tee ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is 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. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools and at other youth-serving locations.

Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than 10.5 million young people in all 50 United States and select international locations. The First Tee’s Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Shell Oil Company is The First Tee’s Founding Corporate Partner and Johnson & Johnson is its Legacy Partner. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.



Jane Fader
The First Tee