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Posted: 2/28/2011




Local Representatives Attend National Meeting where George W. Bush Named Honorary Chairman;

Annika Sorenstam becomes spokesperson for The First Tee's Nine Healthy Habits

El Paso, Texas (Feb. 24, 2011) - El Paso's chapter of The First Tee, a national youth development organization providing character education through golf, sent five representatives to the nonprofit's annual meeting in San Antonio on Feb. 16-19. George W. Bush was named Honorary Chairman and the new Nine Healthy Habits initiative was launched with World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam as spokesperson. The First Tee of Greater El Paso will be offering this new curriculum and expanded opportunities to its 350 current and all future program participants.

"We are so excited to be part of this national organization that has support from such well-known figures," said Kristi Albers, Executive and Program Director of The First Tee's El Paso chapter. "We're especially grateful for our local supporters who ensure that we can keep our doors open and keep offering our young people access - not only to a sport they can enjoy all their life, but access to life skills and habits that will help them enjoy a long and healthy life."

Former president George W. Bush succeeds his father, former President George H. W. Bush, who has served as The First Tee's honorary chair since the organization's inception in 1997. "It is a pleasure to serve an organization that has proven its ability to positively impact today's youth," said President George W. Bush. "The First Tee has been an organization in which my father believes strongly, and I look forward to being a part of its continued progress." 

Three board members from The First Tee of Greater El Paso attended a private reception following the announcement at the national conference, where they met former president Bush.

Annika Sorenstam will serve as the spokesperson for The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits, a new framework for curriculum that focuses on promoting health and wellness through golf. The Healthy Habits include energy, play, safety, vision, mind, family, friends, school and community.

"The First Tee has always shared my passion for building awareness around the healthy aspects of golf," said Sorenstam. "The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits are a smart and systematic approach to reach children about health and fitness, and educate them on healthy life skills that they can integrate into their lives, even outside of golf."

After she shared some stories of her favorite moments on tour and her motivation to create the ANNIKA Foundation, Sorenstam was joined on stage by The First Tee's LPGA members, including The First Tee of Greater El Paso's Executive Director, Kristi Albers, who received a warm greeting and a hug.

 "The First Tee of Greater El Paso can positively affect the lives of hundreds of young people in our community through our programs at Ascarate, Fort Bliss and our newest affiliate, Butterfield Trail Golf Club," said Albers. "With the addition of the Nine Healthy Habits, we have a program that directly addresses the critical developmental needs of our youth. In 2011, we are going to do more outreach to young people as participants and adults as volunteers, donors, coaches and teachers."


About The First Tee of Greater El Paso

The First Tee is a national non-profit youth organization where life skills and core values are taught through the game of golf.  The First Tee Nine Core Values are: courtesy, responsibility, sportsmanship, respect, integrity, confidence, perseverance, judgment and honesty.  The First Tee of Greater El Paso (www.thefirstteegreaterelpaso.org), a chapter of the national organization, was formed in 2008 by local golf professional and former LPGA Tour Player, Kristi Albers (currently the Executive Director and Program Director), with El Paso County's support. The First Tee's programming ties together life skills, healthy habits and golf lessons in a fun and safe environment and is offered to youth ages 7-18, with special camps and sessions that are open to 5 and 6 year olds.

About The First Tee
The First Tee (
www.thefirsttee.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization 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. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in schools and on military installations. Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than 4.7 million participants in all 50 United States and four international locations. The First Tee is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation and its Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Former President George W. Bush now serves as honorary chairman. 

About ANNIKA Foundation
The ANNIKA Foundation teaches children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offers aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams.  The Foundation has partnered with several key organizations to promote healthy and active lifestyles for children, including SPARK, the leading physical education program for schools; Florida Hospital for Children, supporting its Healthy 100 Kids initiative; and The First Tee, developing the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.  More information about the ANNIKA Foundation can be found at www.annikafoundation.org.