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Fore!! CYGA Youth Take to the Links

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Pictured is Marymount Academy student Bailey Lafortune at the CYGA Youth Golf Tourney at Lively Golf & Country Club.

October 14, 2014 - On Wednesday, Oct. 8th youth from a few local high schools along with their golf mentors braved some cool temperatures and some brisky winds to compete in a friendly tournament put on by the Canadian Youth Golf Alliance and hosted by Lively Golf & Country Club. The 1st Annual CYGA Youth Invitational is a new addition to the golf program for the CYGA. All of the youth who played in the tournament were from Marymount Academy, Lasalle Secondary School, and Lively District Secondary School. The youth involved also take part in the CYGA’s Education Program, studying a variety of issues surrounding risks that they face in life, which is a core part of the Philosophy of Life courses in the CYGA’s curriculum. The format of the tournament is unique – three youth plus one golf mentor. Many of the participants were swinging a golf club for the first time so much of the time was spent by their golf mentors explaining the overall game and culture of golf. Much of the focus was placed on golf course etiquette, some of the important rules of golf, and the fundamentals of hitting a golf ball. Marymount Academy student Marika Moskalyk said: “it was a great day overall, and it was really neat to see some of the students from other schools that are studying the same topics that we have been discussing during the Philosophy of Life classes. I love discussing the real life issues that we face and the fact that we were able to do this while learning more about the game of golf was even more cool.” The CYGA’s Education Chair Dan Bartolucci - who is also the Athletic Director at Marymount Academy - was extremely happy with how the day unfolded. “It was so nice to see youth from three local high schools getting together to learn more about this great game, and more importantly, learn more about each other and the risks they are commonly faced with. This year, many students at Marymount Academy approached me to ask if they could be a part of the CYGA group. They recognize the importance of talking about some of the risks that they face in their adolescence, and they appreciate the alternative environment provided for them during the monthly discussions. I’m delighted to see the growth that the CYGA has endured over the past few years and look forward to the future of our organization.”

Ryan Cooney, the Founder and Executive Director of the Canadian Youth Golf Alliance has been travelling between Northern and Southern Ontario to facilitate the classroom discussions. Cooney states, “When we founded the CYGA we had no idea what the impact would be on the youth we serve. It is becoming very clear that all three of our programs have significant impact on the youth, in very different ways. The discussions we have on the philosophy of life provides a platform for youth to discuss real life issues they face. What we have learned over the past few years is that every youth faces different types of risk, or at least they interpret the risks they face in very different ways. In our classes we discuss pragmatic solutions to the social problems that are relevant in their lives, and the youth often come to their own conclusions on how they can best avoid these risks. The employment program is effective as it allows youth to work full-time in the summer months when not many employers find hiring youth for two months a year a viable business option. Golf, as most of us golfers know, allows for a temporary escape from life, all the while teaching us life lessons. Reflecting on the impact of all three programs we’ve developed, and listening to the youth, I am very proud of the work we are doing.”

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