One of the things I like most about attending the Golf Academy of America Phoenix is the number of volunteer opportunities available to students from one semester to the next. This morning, 20 GAA students volunteered their time to help caddie for kids at the Gettin’ In the Game Junior National Championship (JNC) at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler. We got to wear real caddie bibs with the player’s names on them just like they do on the PGA Tour!
Competitors from 47 states ranging in age from 7 to 18 were in town for national golf (and baseball) tournaments designed specifically for members of the bleeding disorders community. The winner of the nine-hole golf tournament gets a golf bag and $500 in sporting goods as well as a $2,500 charitable donation made in his/her name to the Chapter or region he/she represents.
The Junior National Championship, developed by biopharmaceutical company CSL Behring, gives children who have been diagnosed with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease the opportunity to compete in golf and baseball while providing educational and information-sharing opportunities for participants and their parents/caregivers.
Since the first JNC in 2002, CSL Behring has brought competitions to more than 30 cities America and has helped nearly 1,000 athletes and their families connect with other members of the bleeding disorders community.
CSL Behring also sponsors clinics to help educate children and their families about golf and baseball fundamentals. The Junior National Championship encourages kids with blood disorders to stay physically active, learn more about their disease state, and regularly connect with their treatment provider to effectively manage their condition.
I caddied for a 7th grader from right down the road in Gilbert. We had a great time, and while he played very well, I think the one thing our group will never forget was watching a coyote pick up one of the kids’ golf balls. It picked it up it its mouth before dropping it and running across the fairway. You just never know what kind of wildlife you’re going to see out at Whirlwind.
Portions of this post courtesy of CSL Behring.