May 10, 2011. A normal, uneventful Tuesday for most people. Not for me. To me that date represents a life-changing day. You see, that is the first day for the junior golf program I started at Ranken Jordan - A Pediatric Specialty Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri (www.rankenjordan.org). This junior golf program is one of a very few similar programs throughout the country. There is one in Dallas, Texas, and 3 in south Florida (Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, & Naples).
Following months of planning and preparation, the "Learn To Golf" program at Ranken Jordan was launched. It was immediately met with tremendous excitement and enthusiasm from patients and staff. Some of the kids walked outside to hit golf balls. Others rolled themselves in their wheelchairs. Still others were pushed in their wheelchairs because they are unable to use their arms or legs. But how they arrived didn't matter. What mattered was they were there and wanted to learn how to play golf to the best of their ability.
The purpose of this blog will be to further expand on the explanation of this program. It will provide a road map of why I decided to start the program, how it became a reality, where we are going in the future, and stories from the beginning to the present. The early goals of the program were simple: make the kids smile, help them enjoy a great game, give them something to look forward to outside of their normal daily activities in the hospital. Now the goals start growing and becoming grander. What are these goals? You'll have to keep checking back to find out. I will tell you that they involve at least 38 more of these programs as well as some travel for the kids.
Feel free to provide feedback, ask questions, toss out suggestions. Even though there are specific goals I would like to see accomplished through this type of program, then end goal remains the same: create an enjoyable experience for kids battling through difficult situations. The more people are talking about this type of program and thinking of ways to improve it the better all the programs will be. I encourage you to visit Ranken Jordan's website to learn more about this amazing facility. And I encourage you to check back to this blog often to learn more about a simple, yet magical, junior golf program.
Please click on this link to read more about the golf program at Ranken Jordan. In it you will find some wonderful feedback from patients, their families, the staff at Ranken Jordan, as well as some of my comments.