Second Chance program helps youth through the game of golf

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 23:52:59-04

It might have looked like any other day on the golf course Friday, but for a group of kids from Canyon County, its actually graduation day for their second chance program.

First Tee has paired up with the Canyon County Juvenile Corrections Program to help kids who may have been headed down a dark path and guide them through the game of golf. 

"We are learning how to golf, but not only that we are learning life lessons too," said participant Chase Harvey.

The program isn't required, rather the kids choose to attend the six-week program where they focus on not only the game but nine core values. 

"When you think of golf and the life skills that are inherent to the game of golf like courtesy, being kind to one another, shaking their hand, taking their hat off, being respectful, listening to your peers and adults," explained Ally Gorney, executive director for the First Tee of Idaho.

"We're trying to help these young people be the best that they can be as they get older," said Craige Naylor, board member for the First Tee of Idaho.

This is the program's eighth year, and while it's only one of two of it's kind in the country, it's proving to be very effective.

"We've got about a 75 percent success rate of these kids who are in the program that are in the juvenile system that are no longer in the juvenile system, so we defiantly believe we are making a huge difference," said Gorney.

While it costs around 8,000 dollars to run the program, the kids don't have to put any money in, but that doesn't mean they don't get anything out of it.

"I've learned a lot more patience since every time I try and I try and try again and golfing if you keep trying eventually you'll get it down," said Harvey.

And it's fun. The kids are excited about it, and if they participate in all six weeks they get a brand new set of golf clubs to keep on graduation day. But the real reward is the changes the kids make to gain the confidence to be a better person than when they started. 

"When you see them progress like that, that's when you go 'wow, now this is cool,'" said Naylor.