Local Teens Achieves Top Certification from National Youth Development Organization First Tee

 Elizabeth Chamberlin and Abigail Laake from First Tee – Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky among 10 National Ace-certified recipients in 2020

Cincinnati, Ohio (June 21, 2020) – Elizabeth Chamberlin and Abigail Laake from First Tee -Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky have achieved Ace certification, the highest level of certification from First Tee, a national youth development organization dedicated to impacting young people by building character and instilling life-enhancing values through the game of golf.

Elizabeth and Abigail are two of 10 participants this year from throughout the entire First Tee Network of chapters to complete Ace level certification.

To become Ace-certified, participants must complete four major projects – Community Service, Career, Educational Opportunities and Golf – which are submitted and reviewed by a national committee. It is a notable feat and the honorable culmination of hours of volunteering, goal-setting, preparation and practice.

“It is no small feat to complete Ace certification- less than 1 percent of First Tee participants achieve this milestone nationwide. It was a pleasure meeting with these two as they were working through each of the components of the curriculum,” said Alicia Lawrence, Executive Director. “They represent everything we hope First Tee participants will embody once they leave us to conquer life. Both young women have already started giving back as student volunteers and interns in our Life Skills Experience classes. I’m so proud of their work ethic, but mostly their hearts for others.”

Ace certification is the final step and the pinnacle of the First Tee program. Participants can work towards Ace certification after completing PLAYer, Par, Birdie and Eagle level certifications. The certification process requires a higher level of personal planning through First Tee’s Life Skills Experience that includes interpersonal communication, self-management, goal-setting, self-coaching and resiliency skills — building an important foundation for success in higher education and career planning.

Of note in their project completion was their work for the Give Back to Community project. In addition to their community service hours required for the project, these young women went above and beyond with an idea tied to a new chapter event, the #inviteHER Girls Golf Breakfast. Once the event was announced, Abigail and Elizabeth elected to implement a community element to the breakfast. These two took an idea and ran! They explored other non-profits in the community and selected Welcome House of Northern Kentucky. Their mission is to end homelessness in our community. They polled Birdie Level participants to see what item drive theme they should select and settled on a baby themed drive for the breakfast. That information was shared with breakfast attendees and almost $700 worth of baby supplies were collected at the breakfast. These two ran with this project from concept to execution and established a tradition for the breakfast that we will continue annually.

Both Abigail and Elizabeth have been participants at First Tee – Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky for 10 years and recent high school graduates. Abigail will continue her education in the selective Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) program at the University of Cincinnati. Elizabeth is headed to Transylvania University majoring in Accounting and achieving her dream of playing golf in college. Abigail and Elizabeth are true team players and dear friends. We value the way they encourage and support each other and other participants in our Life Skills Experience Program.

Recently they were asked what they have taken away from their time at First Tee. “Never doubt yourself and always persevere, no matter how hard something is,” said Abigail. Elizabeth added, “One thing I have taken away from First Tee is the importance of community and giving back to the community.”

Although both are now alumni of First Tee, they plan to stay involved and give back. Elizabeth recently went through training to become a PLAYer level coach this summer and Abigail plans to be a volunteer coach in her classes.

For more information about First Tee – Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky, visit www.firstteegcnky.org.