UP Girls Golf

Morgan Pettine, far right, and her teammates on the Union Pines girls golf team volunteer at a First Tee event. Pettine was selected to attend a national First Tee event in California in October.

Morgan Pettine, a First Tee – Sandhills teen, has been selected from a pool of national candidates to attend the First Tee Innovators Forum Oct. 8 to 11 in San Jose, California. The forum will empower First Tee teens to develop a meaningful service project in their communities focusing on raising awareness on issues surrounding education, health and sustainability.

Interactive workshops and small breakout sessions during the forum will cover a variety of topics including the importance of community service, volunteerism, and environmental sustainability, and will be presented by experts in the respective fields.

During the workshops, Morgan will have the opportunity to learn from global industry leaders at the three-day summit. At the end of the forum, a total of $32,000 will be awarded to eight attending participants to further their educational pursuits!

“We are so thrilled for Morgan to have been selected to attend the Innovators Forum,” said Courtney Stiles, Executive Director of First Tee – Sandhills. “She is going to have the opportunity to meet other like-minded teens from across the country focused on being game changers in their communities and building their character as they pursue their future goals. We can’t wait to see what creativity and ideas she brings back to the Sandhills.”

Pettine is one of 28 participants selected to attend the Innovators Form and was selected based on academic achievement, community service, chapter involvements, leadership, essay responses and letters of recommendation.

Morgan has been an active participant in First Tee – Sandhills since the age of 9. Today, she’s a sophomore at Union Pines High School where she is actively involved in the Student 2 Student Association as an ambassador for military teens new to the school, an honor roll student and member of the golf team. She sets time aside to volunteer at the animal shelter and is a junior caddie at the Country Club of North Carolina.

As part of the essay component of Morgan’s application, she was asked to explain an issue which she was passionate about in our local community and how she would go about making a change. Morgan used this space to talk about environmental sustainability. Explaining that, “an environmental problem in my local community which I feel needs to change is recycling and sustaining plastic with organic materials. Glass is not included in local recycling pick up so households must take their glass to the local landfill for recycling. Knowing that when glass is mixed with other materials it can break causing issues with machines, if we were provided separate bins for pick up on a different day, it would increase the amount of glass we could recycle in our community.”

Additionally, she was asked to talk about how she would motivate others to become involved in community service. Morgan reflected on her time spent volunteering as a young adult, saying she really enjoys making a difference, meeting new people, being a part of the community and providing help to others. Volunteering has helped her gain confidence in a variety of new settings.

So, to try and motivate others in the community to serve, Morgan expressed she would, “create a tag line such as – by giving a little today, we’ll make our community shine brighter in a new way! Then, use resources such as the local newspaper and social media to highlight all the good people are doing in the Sandhills. Such as, tying my passion for recycling to community service together by encouraging folks to volunteer to pick up recycling from local businesses and in turn spotlighting their efforts on community platforms to stimulate others to pitch in, too!”

We love the way you are thinking, Morgan!

First Tee Innovators Forum is one of several national opportunities to empower and motivate teens as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. We look forward to sharing Morgan’s experience with you later this fall.

Courtney Stiles is the executive director of First Tee – Sandhills. Contact her at cstiles@thefirstteesandhills.org.

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