Thank you to Steve Zahn – First Tee Recognized Coach and Volunteer

Steve Zahn is an employee of EROS near Sioux Falls and has been an active volunteer with First Tee—South Dakota for 10 years. We can’t express our gratitude enough for the time and commitment he has given to our program. We want to highlight a little bit about Steve’s time with us here at the First Tee.

Steve has a love for the game of golf and a big desire to volunteer to help.  Those passions led him to us, at First Tee–South Dakota.  Steve said he was “initially attracted as a First Tee volunteer because of the mission: to instill life enhancing values and character through the game of golf.”  He continues to share that “kids are desperate for those skills and I like golf, so I was hooked.”

Now that Steve was an active volunteer, what kept him here for 10 years? Well he shares that “I stayed because the staff made me feel so welcome and offered many opportunities to stretch myself and engage deeply in the program. I am grateful for their investment of resources to allow me, someone with limited golf skills and no connection to the golf industry, to achieve the status of a First Tee Coach.  Even in my departure, I remain a big supporter of First Tee.  We need organizations like this more than ever.”

As Steve has graciously given his time over the years working with participants he tells us some of his most cherished moments involved in the program. “I am very proud of my time with First Tee–South Dakota and have many fond memories.  When the initial Executive Director moved on, I was made the lead coach for the Eagle level and coached that group for three years.  I took on the opportunity of rewriting and expanding the Eagle curriculum and found the experience challenging and rewarding.  I was also given the privilege of mentoring and coaching the first certified ACE level student with First Tee–South Dakota. That was such a special responsibility and, as ACE students are highly motivated and successful, I learned from him as much as I gave.”  Steve continues to state that “the memory of coaching the youngest participants still brings me special joy.  I’ll never tire of seeing a child, especially those with limited athletic or social skills, try something new and difficult like golf and, upon even a brief moment of success, beem a wide smile of confidence and then open themselves up to other challenges.”

Although Steve is moving on in his volunteerism and continued passion for helping others, he has one final thought tthose looking to get involved. “I would encourage others, particularly adults, with both a love for young people and the game of golf, no matter what your skill level, to consider volunteer opportunities with First Tee—South Dakota. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. For the greatest good we can do for others especially kids, is not to show them our talents, meager as they might be, but to reveal to them their own.”

Steve has been a tremendous asset to us here at First Tee–South Dakota.  Although, we are sad to see him go, his imprint on our program will remain strong for years to come. We will keep him on our go-to team, shall we need to reach out for advice. It has been a fun 10 years and an honor to work with Steve.