Participant Highlight: Kayla Ripley

Categories: Blog

When Kayla, 16, began with The First Tee last fall, she was simply looking to explore something new. Having decided to end her time on the swim team, she wasn’t entirely committed to getting into another sport but was willing to give it a shot. With a bit of hesitancy and some encouragement from her mom, Kayla signed up for the Teen & High School class at Willows Run Golf Course. She soon discovered that through The First Tee, she had not only found a sport she could call her own but a training ground for developing skills to succeed in school and in her other passions, as well. We asked Kayla to share what she has learned during her time at The First Tee.

Here is what she had to say:

What do you like most about The First Tee?

I was pleasantly surprised at how engaging, helpful, and friendly the coaches are, and how much fun I ended up having.

Is there a lesson you learned in class that has been helpful off the golf course, as well?

Learning about the 4 R’s (Replay, Relax, Get Ready, and Redo) has been helpful in staying level-headed in school. When I don’t understand a subject and it gets frustrating, I remember to stay calm, and think about what I did, what I should do next, and then try again.

The lesson on good sportsmanship has been really helpful, not only in golf, but in all-around learning to have a good attitude in life, whether things are going well, or not. I think that this is one of the most important lessons that The First Tee teaches. It’s not about doing well, it’s about your attitude, whatever the outcome.

Coupled with good sportsmanship and the 4R’s is also the lesson on perseverance. I like how The First Tee teaches you that it’s not the end of the world when you mess up – you just have to keep trying. This has been helpful to me when I’m trying out new things in school, and also in baking. Sometimes when I try out a new recipe or idea and it doesn’t go as well as I had hoped, it’s nice to remember these lessons, and keep a good attitude.

What are some of your current goals?

For a short-term life goal, I think the most important thing is doing well in school and getting good grades. Education is rather important to me and while I’m in high school, I want to learn all that I can in broad areas so that when I’m in college and am studying more specific things, I can still have a wider range of knowledge.

Long-term, I love baking cupcakes, and one day I hope to open an independent bakery.

In terms of a golf goal, it’s about improving. I find golf really fun, so I want to get better at it and continue to play.

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