Thanks to a little help from the Columbia Basin Trust, the Golden Junior Golf Program is well equipped for the upcoming season.
“Last year we got a Columbia Basin Trust Grant for clubs and so on… I would just be scraping by again this year if it wasn’t for their help,” said Russ Younger, who runs the junior program.
There are three groups in the the Junior Golf Program: the Junior Swingers (ages five to eight), the Junior Players (ages nine to 12), and the Juniors (ages 13 to 18).
The $4,960 grant from the CBT allowed Younger to purchase sets of golf clubs, both left and right handed, for all three age groups.
The program runs from May through June, and accepts kids of all skill levels.
“Most of our kids are beginners, but having said that, once they get up into (higher age groups), some of them are junior club members,” said Younger.
Last year Younger was out in the community advertising the program, and was surprised at how well it worked.
“Last year we really advertised hard, and we ended up with 60 kids,” he said. “So I’m always looking for more volunteers.”
Younger will be at Sears on Thursday April 19 from 1 to 5:30 p.m. for an official registration night. However, if there’s room, he will continue registering golfers afterwards. Younger is hoping to get as many kids as last year, but unfortunately there may be a cap on the number of participants.
“If we get 60 kids again, we may not be able to take more. It’s one of those bittersweet things, simply because we need volunteers. This community survives on volunteers,” he said.
The cost for the program is $30 for the Junior Swingers, $50 for the Junior Players, and $50 for the Juniors. But Younger realizes that not all families can afford to put their children in organized sports.
“We have what I call a Golfership, available for people who are financially stressed,” said Younger. Applications for these Golferships, which cover all the costs, will be available at the registration night.
Younger has been running youth programs with the golf course, and the YMCA for many years, and he finds it a very rewarding experience.
“”What we really want these kids to do is have fun, even if they don’t really learn how to play golf. It’s fun in a good clean way, and maybe they can develop a life skill as well.”
For more information, you can contact Younger at 344-6926.