By Thomas Colantuono |
The Wilmington Junior Golf Academy teaches children to golf, but for the past 9 years, the primary goal of the non-profit organization has been to instill ideals of discipline into the lives of children and young adults from varying socio-economic situations. The Junior Golf Academy works to strengthen the community, while establishing friendships and self-reliance. The non-profit organization holds that the benefits of discipline on a person’s character can be learned from a sport, like golf, and can be applied throughout the entirety of someone’s life.
The Academy, which was founded by Jake Hunt, fulfilled his goal to “teach kids on a daily basis not only how to swing a golf club, but how to get through life and to talk to them about life skills and core values.”
Because golf is ultimately a solitary game, the players have to rely on themselves; there is no one to throw the ball to them or catch what they hit, Hunt explains. This creates a growing opportunity to truly understand what self-reliance is. This isn’t to discount teamwork, which can be emphasized while playing on a golf team, but to highlight an important characteristic more brightly than other sports may be able to.
The Academy is beneficial to the entire community – not just the individual young people participating – because of its inclusive availability; other options to learn golf tend to be expensive. Through June and July, there are three golf camps, two located at the Municipal Golf Course and one at Belvedere Country Club in Hampstead. Five golf tournaments are held throughout the summer with no winners or losers, and everyone learns from the experience. Special programs for boys are held on Tuesday nights and for girls on Thursday nights.
During the school year, Wilmington Junior Golf Academy works with 13 elementary schools alongside a gym teacher, facilitating a month-long program for 3rd and 4th graders. Over the past 6 years, more than 2,000 students have been reached through this collaboration. The Academy continues to provide support after participants age out of the program through a $500 scholarship program based on both golf and grades.
The Academy’s activities and programs are provided free of charge by the Wilmington Junior Golf Academy with the help of corporate sponsors and fundraisers.
For more information you can visit www.wilmingtonjuniorgolfacademy.com.