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To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at This blog is not affiliated with Ranken Jordan. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and not those of Ranken Jordan. Thank you for reading!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Three Years Is Just the Beginning

May 10, 2014 came and went with little or no fanfare.  For many it was just another Saturday.  Some folks may have seen it as the 3rd round of The PLAYERS Championship, the week in between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, or the day before Mother's Day.  At Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital May 10 is a bit of a special day as that is the anniversary date of the first golf clinic we held for the kids.  This year marks three years since the inception of the program.  It is a day that will always hold an important place not only for me but also for Janine Roe, CTRS, Community Programs Director at Ranken Jordan.

During the three years we have had over 150 junior golf clinics and positively impacted in excess of 2,000 children.  For many junior golf programs these numbers are not significant at all.  But no other junior golf program in the country is held 52 weeks a year at a pediatric hospital like Ranken Jordan.  At least one day a week every week of the year visitors to the hospital hear that sweet click of a well struck golf shot or bend over to retrieve a runaway golf ball.  They hear laughter from the kids and see smiles on their faces that could light up the darkest of rooms.  They see kids having fun and getting better at the same time.

Looking back over our first three years we have been fortunate to witness many amazing accomplishments.  As Janine readily tells anyone who will listen, "I've seen a lot of miracles through our golf program."  Many of these instances can be found in multiple blog posts that I have written.  There have been teenagers taking the first steps of their lives, standing for the first time, or progressing from the hospital bed to a wheelchair to ambulatory.  Each week there is something new happening that shows the significant role the game of golf is playing in the recovery of these children.  But the one thing I look forward to the most every week is seeing the kids smile.  It is an incredibly simple goal yet a very important one at the same time.

Creating a bright spot each week for these kids is something I am very proud of and look forward to.  Very often golf is included in their therapy program so the kids are getting to play while they are getting better.  Other times golf is used as a reward for completing therapy.  Whatever the situation the kids look forward to golf and can't wait for the next clinic.  Seeing a smile on the face of the kids or having one of them say "thank you" is an indescribable feeling.  There have been mothers crying tears of joy as they watch their child hit shot after shot, a feat they never dreamed imaginable.  Other parents have referred to the golf program as "magic" and "a dream come true."

Everyone who has been a part of the junior golf program at Ranken Jordan sees the good it is doing for the kids.  I have said it before and I will say it again, golf is a healing tool.  Over the three years of our program we have seen kids healing through golf and we are just getting started on this journey.  Many new and exciting adventures are on the horizon for our junior golf program.  Thanks to the generosity of the St. Louis Cardinals ushers and the single passenger golf cart they have donated, the kids will be able to get on the golf course more often this summer!  The program will continue to grow and evolve as we find more ways to help the kids through golf.  I am grateful beyond words at having been allowed the opportunity to bring golf to the kids at Ranken Jordan.  These first three years have been life-changing for me and I am ready for many, many more years.

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