According to the NCAA, nearly 8 million students currently participate in high school sports in the United States. Of the nearly 8 million, only 480,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools. And though 480,000 will compete at NCAA schools, not all of them will receive full or any scholarships at all. This is why SCGA Junior engages underserved youth in the lifelong benefits of golf: so that they can achieve their dreams and potential, not just to create athletes. Our programs are designed so that juniors develop not only in golf but as a whole person.
Our scholarship program is one of the many ways that we support youth who participated in our programs. Juniors who are active in our programs have an opportunity to receive a scholarship to pursue their education, which is renewable for up to four years. The scholarship is available to those who choose to and/or able to play college golf and for those who just want to go to college. The funds can be used for tuition, room and board, and educational supplies. In 2015, we awarded 37 youth a total of $136,000 to continue their education. In 2016, $155,000 will be distributed to 45.
At the Renewing Scholar Reception at Friendly Hills Country Club on April 30th, we received impressive updates from our current scholars. A couple highlights included that Torrey Munoz, a junior at UC Santa Barbara, will be studying in Scotland in the fall, as he was accepted to participate in an internship with the Scottish Parliament. Freshman Jakeishya Le won her first collegiate tournament representing UC Riverside. Alec Spencer had another successful season as a member of the University of LaVerne’s golf team and just qualified for the California Amateur Championship. We beamed with pride as we listened to each and every update. But beyond what they have accomplished so far, what makes us the proudest is that our scholars give back. Scholar Nick Moreno, who attends Carnegie Mellon University and back for the summer, raised money and played in our recent golf marathon. Most of our Southern California scholars also volunteered for the day, as they do for most of our events.
We gave junior golfers skills and instilled values through our instruction and SCGA Junior Golf Club programs. The scholarship program is a continuation of providing opportunities for these youth. It is our commitment to their growth and success. Whether or not they play golf in college or just focus on academics, the scholarship program allows scholars to have the support to pursue their next endeavor.