Positive Impact – Kassy Spitz Shares her Experience from the Game Changers Academy

Long-time First Tee – Western New York participant and now Junior Coach, Kassy Spitz attended the First Tee Game Changers Academy. Kassy Spitz was selected out of dozens of applicants from across the country to represent First Tee – Western New York to attend this National Opportunity from July 18-22 in Philadelphia, PA. The First Tee Game Changers Academy is the ultimate tribute to Joe Louis Barrow Jr., a fearless champion of change and former CEO of First Tee. Being a game changer has been integrated into the First Tee mission and Kassy states her thoughts on what exactly a game changer is. She said, “a game changer is someone who is open minded and works hard to diversify and better their community for the people around them.”

The Game Changer Leadership Academy consisted of workshops around diversity and inclusion, team building activities like zip lining, the opportunity to meet other First Tee participants across the country, and the chance to play golf and enjoy the facilities at the historic Merion Golf Club. To help facilitate engaging and interactive workshops at this academy, First Tee invited its industry partner, RISE, a national leader in the sports community championing social justice. Kassy participated in important conversations around issues of identity, racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Kassy’s experience was impactful and allowed her to engage in conversations that empowered her to become a better individual, ultimately helping to make a positive impact right here Western New York. Kassy is enlightened to apply what she has learned from this academy, “I can use this new perspective to help encourage the younger generation to be accepting, help work towards change, and fight for equality for those who are struggling or oppressed”. 

At the conclusion of the Game Changer Academy, Kassy was awarded the Outstanding Participant Award. This award was given out to one person in each of the four groups who represented and stood out in the RISE discussions and showed First Tee core values on and off the course. Kassy made an impression, was actively engaged, and left the Game Changer Academy with new friends she plans to stay in touch with. She describes her experience as, “…important for me to attend because it allowed me to meet so many new people and experience so many walks of life. Being able to understand more lifestyles outside of my own allowed me to expand my perspective.”

The Game Changer Academy is one of several First Tee National Opportunities hosted throughout the year. First Tee is an international youth-development organization that enables kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. All First Tee programs seamlessly integrate the game of golf with a life-skills curriculum to create active learning experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience that kids can carry to everything they do. The mission enables First Tee to build game changers using the game of golf as the platform.