Forty-eight teens to attend First Tee Game Changers Academy in Philadelphia

First Tee, a youth development organization that teaches life skills and helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, will host the First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. Philadelphia, July 20-24, 2021. Forty-eight teens from First Tee chapters across the country have been selected for the five-day learning and empowerment academy to participate in critical conversations around issues of identity, racism, equity and empathy.

The event will feature engaging and interactive workshops facilitated by RISE, a national nonprofit and leader in the sports community championing social justice and working to improve race relations. The workshops will explore a multitude of topics that encourage personal growth and understanding of diversity concepts that foster positive change in the community.

The workshops will be paired with reflections led by our nationally trained First Tee coaches, team building activities such as a scavenger hunt in the city of Philadelphia and keynote speakers from the sports industry including Vice-President, Community & Inclusion for the PGA TOUR Marsha Oliver. First Tee – Greater Philadelphia will host the teens for golf outings at John F. Byrne Golf Course where they will continue to build upon their connections with other participants from around the country and hear different perspectives from their peers.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion have been part of the fabric of First Tee since the beginning, and we are proud to provide an event that allows teens from across the country to go deeper on the subject,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “First Tee is about empowering these young people to be game changers in their community. Congratulations to 48 teens for being selected from a national pool of candidates to represent their First Tee chapter at this event.”

This Academy is an evolution of our longest standing participant event, the Life Skills Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. The enhanced event addresses the challenges our teens face in their daily lives and better equips them to build the strength of character to be game changers in their communities. The Academy honors First Tee’s former CEO, Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., who led the organization from 2000 until his retirement in 2017.

First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee headquarters designed to inspire and encourage high school students on a deeper level as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities.

First Tee is a youth development organization that enables kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. By seamlessly integrating the game of golf with a life skills curriculum, First Tee creates active learning experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence and resilience that kids can carry to everything they do. These character education programs are offered at golf courses, schools and youth centers in all 50 states and six international locations.

The 48 teens attending the Academy can be viewed here. For more information on First Tee, visit