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Weiss and former students publish on positive youth development and The First Tee


Maureen Weiss, kinesiology professor in physical activity psychology, and former students Cheryl Stuntz (associate professor, St. Lawrence University), Jennifer Bhalla (lecturer, University of Minnesota), Nicole Bolter (assistant professor, Boise State University), and Melissa Price (women's soccer coach, University of Nevada) published the first phase of research on positive youth development and "The First Tee" titled, "More Than a Game: Impact of The First Tee Life skills Programme on Positive Youth Development: Project Introduction and Year 1 Findings," in Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health. The four-year longitudinal, mixed-methods study examined the effectiveness of The First Tee in promoting social and psychological competencies and core values among adolescent participants.

The First Tee is a sport-based youth development program whose mission is "to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf." The program philosophy is that golf serves as the context and coaches as external assets for teaching youth internal assets so that positive psychosocial and behavioral outcomes are realized. Findings provide evidence-based data that The First Tee is having a positive impact on promoting life skills and core values among youth participants within the golf context and in the transfer to other domains, such as school and family.

Success of The First Tee has been attributed to synergy among context, program delivery, and intentional curriculum; The First Tee Coach Philosophy that offers an essential guide for invoking activities, teaching strategies, and coaching behaviors that are directed toward promoting youth development; and emphasis on fostering supportive and trusting relationships, including coaches, mentors, and peers. Funding comes from grants by the U.S. Department of Justice and Phillip Morris USA, Youth Smoking Prevention Programs.

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