In earlier blog posts I have tackled the question of "why" as it relates to the junior golf program at Ranken Jordan. This post will expand on those earlier comments and provide some feedback received from patients and parents. The moment somebody takes the time to walk into a facility like Ranken Jordan and help the kids the answer clearly becomes, as I have said before, "Why not?". All it takes is one made putt, a good chip shot, or the click made by a well-struck 8 iron, to light up a smile on the face of the kids that will have anyone begging to go back.
Many times throughout the two years we have had this program I have been fortunate enough to see those smiles. Not only do those smiles keep me going back but they have me asking what else can I do? The smallest things that many golfers take for granted will often times fulfill a dream for these kids. If you took the time to read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article written by Joe Strauss you will recall the mother of one of the patients saying of the golf program, "This is magic." There have been many of those magical moments and there are certainly many more to come. But exactly what is it that these kids get out of the program that makes it magical? Read these comments from kids and parents and see what you think:
"It helped me do things I didn't think I could do."
"Playing golf was a time where I can do something to turn a bad day into a good day."
"Participating in the golf program at Ranken Jordan benefited my son because it engaged him in a familiar and enjoyable activity, encouraged movement and athleticism, all the while allowing him to re-learn and utilize former skills."
"It helped me communicate with people and get to know them much better who I otherwise would not have known."
Several times since starting this program I have had the honor and pleasure of receiving a note from a parent or one of the junior golfers. I am not too proud to say that every time I get one of these it brings tears to my eyes. To know that this program has had such a profound impact on the life of any of the kids is simply amazing. I will close this post with the words received from a mother of one of the kids who enjoyed the program the most . . . and provided us with some of the most entertaining clinics!
"My son has a love for sports. Due to multiple surgeries he has been confined to a wheelchair most of his life. One of the many sports he loves is golf. When he was a patient at Ranken Jordan he was able to fulfill one of his wishes. That wish was to play golf. Ranken Jordan offers children with disabilities so many wonderful opportunities, but their golf program was my son's favorite. The golf pros that came in were incredible. They taught him how to swing a golf club in his wheelchair. They took one of his dreams and made it a reality. I was fortunate enough to witness the look of sheer happiness and confidence on my son's face as he saw that he was able to enjoy sports. I am so grateful to Ranken Jordan and their program for allowing him to have this opportunity of a lifetime. It is one of the many things that makes Ranken Jordan such a special place."
Actually, ma'am, I am the one who is grateful for being allowed to teach golf to your son and these amazing kids at this special place. Thank you.