By Roseanna Smith (@AJGASmith), AJGA Communications
It's that time of year at the AJGA: awards season.
AJGA awards recognize the achievements of the talented, and in this case, altruistic, junior golfers in our midst.
Earlier in the year, Tim Jackman (@AJGAJackman) did a blog series on the charitable giving of some participants in the AJGA’s Leadership Links program. Established in 2009, Leadership Links allows AJGA juniors to participate in fundraising for a variety of charities in golf and outside of it. In 2014 alone, more 360 junior golfers raised $350,000 and supported 160 charitable causes.
Even more amazing are the subjects of this post: the top 14 fundraisers who accounted for nearly 40 percent of the overall dollar amount, or $133,045. They are: Meghan Fahey, Dree Fausnaugh, MacKenzie Hawkes, John Hayden, Andrew Jacobe, Will Lagomarsino, Nick Leibold, Scott Odell, Ben Pirro, Tim Rotermund, Jake Snortland, Alexa Tsay, Blake Wagoner and Sean Wilcox.
This class of amazing junior golfers raises money for a variety of causes but it is their attitude on giving back that is most notable.
Fahey, who raises money for the Michelle Deasey ’17 Memorial Scholarship Fund, a program created in memory of her best friend Michelle who died in third grade from an uncommon liver disease.
“I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to grow up around golf, so being able to use golf to help make a difference in other people’s lives is humbling,” said Fahey, who was the top overall 2014 fundraiser with $14,700. “Involving Michelle’s family in this process and striving to live on in her unforgettable memory and amazing legacy has made the fundraising even more special.”
While the rewards of participating in the 2014 Leadership Links program include two special experiences (playing golf with #AJGAalum Rickie Fowler on Nov. 22 and meeting Jack and Barbara Nicklaus on Nov. 23), the participants said their primary focus was not on “winning.”
“It’s better to give than receive,” said Hayden, who raised $12,336 for The Bradley Johnson Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in honor of Johnson who was a top AJGA golfer tragically killed in a 2012 car accident. “This game has given me a lot. Birdies for Bradley is a small way for me to give back. Being rewarded by playing golf with Rickie Fowler says a lot about him – as he models the way by giving back to junior golfers.”