by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”Rich Harvest Farms and the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois, located in Sugar Grove, are looking for additional women business professionals to participate in a unique mentoring golf event at Rich Harvest Farms on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Thinking Outside the Tee Box is an annual event that pairs a successful female business professional with a young woman for a day of golf and mentoring. Although golf is on the agenda, the emphasis is on the interaction between the women and the girls, Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois Director Holly Alcala said.
â€œWe don’t even score the event,â€ she said.
The girls, who represent a wide demographic range, are chosen from those nominated by foundation site coordinators from around the state, and are matched up with the women in terms of careers, hobbies and interests. The girls attend a welcome dinner with a featured speaker on Friday night, with a nine-hole golf scramble and other activities with their mentors on Saturday.
Illinois High School Association administrator Sue Hinrichsen is among the mentors. Hinrichsen, who participated in the first event in 2004, said giving the girls an opportunity to meet successful women professionals and giving them access to places they might not otherwise have is an important part of the weekend.
â€œSeeing women in positions of business being successful shows the girls that barriers can and have been broken, and that their dreams can become a reality,â€ she said.
Hinrichsen was paired with Nora Durkins, who was a sophomore in high school at the time. She has since stayed in touch with Durkins, who is now a student in college. She said Durkins, who is from the Kankakee area, is considering a career in charitable work overseas.
Hinrichsen said she has had her own heroes and role models that have helped her along the way, and she gains satisfaction in knowing that she has passed on some of what she was given.
Former youth participant Megan Ewers from Chicago Heights said her experience at the event was exciting.
â€œThey treated us like princesses,â€ she said.
She and her mentor, then Chicago School District Physical Education Director Patrice Faire, still keep in touch. Currently a senior in high school, Ewers plans on a career that involves teaching and sports, and she continues to play golf.
Ewers played in the recent Junior Solheim Cup Pro-American tournament during the Solheim Cup event in Sugar Grove. She also volunteered during the event, showing kids younger than her how to play golf, and served as a standard bearer during the tournament.
She said she has encouraged her entire family to begin playing golf, and they all enjoy playing together now.
â€œEven if you don’t become a professional golfer, you can still do it for the rest of your life,â€ she said. â€œYou can make a lot of friends.â€
â€œThinking Outside the Tee Boxâ€
Saturday, Oct. 17
Sponsored by Rich Harvest Farms and Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois
Mentors needed in these career fields
â€¢ Culinary arts
â€¢ Child care providers
â€¢ Graphic arts, design
Holly Alcala at (630) 466-0913
Photo: Lynn Keel and Madison Lord prepare to start the 2008 Thinking Outside the Tee Box golf outing. This yearâ€™s event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17. Courtesy Photo