Pathfinder Immersion Program participants visit College of Charleston for a robotics lesson.
January 1, 2024 | Press Release
First Tee – Greater Charleston is kicking off the New Year with a new name for its golf and STEM enrichment program. The Pathfinder Immersion Program, which launched under the name Game Changers in 2021, will continue providing year-round athletic, academic, and social/emotional support to students grades 6-12. The rebrand, set in motion by a Board of Directors vote in November, simply aims to more clearly communicate program objectives.
“We say it all the time… ‘First Tee – Greater Charleston is Building Game Changers.’ That means all of our programs–immersion, on-course/after-school, in-school, and community outreach–are Building Game Changers,” says Bucky Dudley, Executive Director. “Rebranding the immersion program is just a formality, but we hope the distinction between our tagline and this specific program will help people better understand what we’re trying to accomplish–at an organizational and program level.”
First Tee’s mission is to positively impact the lives of youth by providing structured educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choice through the game of golf. The newly dubbed Pathfinder Immersion Program is merely one tool in First Tee – Greater Charleston’s toolbox.
Dudley says “It’s still the same great program.” That means Pathfinder Immersion Program participants will continue to enjoy a full day of enrichment activities Monday through Friday each summer and Saturday meetups during the school year with all transportation, meals, and equipment provided at no cost thanks to generous donations.
A major component of the program, since its inception, has been and will continue to be professional development and STEM curriculum administered through enrichment partners such as Boeing, Synovus, College of Charleston, Charleston Southern University, Terracon, Frampton Construction, Main Ocean Logistics, Seafox Boats, and others. Pathfinder Immersion Program Director Lerone Johnson, Sr. says, “Our goal is to expose young people to a variety of educational options and career paths in hopes that they will be prepared to make informed choices as they mature into positive productive adults.”
Pathfinders visit Frampton Construction for a professional enrichment presentation.
The Pathfinder Immersion Program, will continue accepting a new class of rising sixth graders each summer and relies heavily on community support for continued expansion. Individuals who want to explore volunteer or enrichment partner opportunities are encouraged to contact Coach Johnson ([email protected]).
About First Tee – Greater Charleston
Established in 2008, First Tee – Greater Charleston serves young people, ages 5-18, from all walks of life. The 501(c)3 offers on-course, in-school, and community outreach programs that teach life-enhancing values and interpersonal skills through the game of golf. The organization reaches thousands of children each year in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties–19,869 young people in 2023 alone. Visit FirstTeeCHS.org to learn more.
About the Pathfinder Immersion Program
The Pathfinder Immersion Program launched in summer 2021 with six students. In 2022, the program earned the Barbara A. Douglass and Dr. William J. Powell Diversity Award from The TORO Foundation and was featured on the Golf Channel. In 2023, program participation increased to 22 students thanks to generous community support and USGA IDEA Grant funding. First Tee – Greater Charleston endeavors to serve more than 50 students through the Pathfinder Immersion Program by summer 2027. Visit FirstTeeCHS.org/pathfinders to learn more.