The children of Downes Elementary School in Newark glow with smiles and excitement every year for the First Tee of Delaware –– a special date organized to teach kids the basics of golf.
A few members from both the men’s and women’s teams attend to have fun and interact with a group of young students, teaching the students the game that means so much to them. Although golf may not have the nationwide appeal that football or baseball does, it does however have a significant impact on the members who attended the event to give back to their community.
Freshman Isabella Rimton, who hails from Malmö, Sweden, holds the game of golf dearly to her.
“Golf has given me so much over the years: self-development, social skills, the ability to work well under pressure, as well as the opportunity of coming to the U.S. to study,” Rimton said. “I have met many of my closest friends through golf. I am so thankful for having this sport in my life, and I don’t know what I would do without it.”
Not only is this event a hit with the young kids but it’s also an event that is circled on the Blue Hens’ calendars. Sophomore Ashley Dingman was excited to attended the event for the second year in a row.
“It was something I definitely looked forward to doing again after last year,” Dingman said.
The kids enjoy spending a day with the college athletes who oftentimes are role models in the same town as Downes’ students.
Events like this will always mean a lot to the recipients who in this case are the students of Downes. However, for an event like this to truly work it must have meaning for the Blue Hen athletes who attended. In that respect this event was truly a hole in one. Each athlete was overjoyed to have a chance to participate in this event.
“It means a lot to me to give back to this game as much as I can. Getting to meet and talk to so many wonderful families and their children this night felt special,” Rimton said. “It was rewarding to feel as if I made an impact in their day, just as they made an impact in mine.”
To hear that powerful of a reaction from a first-time attendee of the First Tee of Delaware event speaks to the magnitude of the event itself. However, this kind of reaction is not only a first glance reaction. Take it from senior and Captain Marc Olivieri who has attended this event four times in his career at Delaware.
“I’ve been attending this event for the past four years and have always really enjoyed giving back to the community surrounding the university,” Olivieri said. “I think it gives us as athletes a great opportunity to provide an important service and contribution to Downes Elementary. We are glad to keep coming back year after year.”
Giving back to the community is extremely important to these two Blue Hen teams because although the event lasts only a few hours, the students of Downes Elementary remember it forever. The women have just started their spring season in South Carolina while the men will start on March 19 in Williamsburg, Va.