Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – GOLF FORE FOOD

Name: Tristan Nelko
From: Plymouth, MN
Grade: Sophomore
School: Wayzata High School
Votes: 0

By: Tristan Nelko

I am actively involved in my High School Y.E.S. volunteer club that has
inspired me to give back to my local community.
 For the
past three summers’, I have organized my own Junior Golf Charity
Tournament called Golf Fore Good, which raises money for a local
non-profit that helps people in need right here in my community.

The summer it was held on August 21st at Pioneer Creek Golf Club. It usually takes
over 50 hours to organize from start to finish. It starts with
negotiating the golf course contracts and research local non-profit
organizations. It is important for me to negotiate a good price per
golfer with the golf course, so that I can maximize the amount of
money I am able to give to my chosen Non-profit organization. I then
spend some time researching different non-profits in this area by
calling them and looking at their website. I really like to focus on
non-profits that are local and help people in need right here in our
community. Once I have the Golf course confirmed and the non-profit
chosen I can start to meet with business owners for sponsorship
opportunities and start marketing my event to junior golfers ages
12-18. I regularly distribute my marketing flier and post on my
twitter page @golfforegood updates throughout the summer months. I
then spend a lot of time visiting many restaurants and businesses to
ask for gift certificate donations. I also maintain an excel
spreadsheet to register players and document the checks and donations
that I receive. Finally, I make gift bags for each participant that
includes a T-shirt that I design and non-profit information that I go
over with the Junior Golfers during the day of the event.

My main goal is to bring awareness to the youth about the huge needs right here in
our community. I have learned how to organize a big event like this
in my classes that I take at Wayzata High School. My parents have
also been a huge help coaching me along the way, especially with
networking to businesses and how to handle rejection. Throughout this
process I have learned how to remain focused on my end goal through
those rejections, and at the end it is a huge accomplishment to hand
over that large check to a local non-profit.

This summer, 55 golfers’ participated and over 30 businesses donated money, gift
certificates, and items that were given away as prizes. With the
generosity of these businesses and families, I was able to drop off
147 pounds of food and give a $2,363.83 check to The Food Group, a
local Non-Profit Organization that distributes healthy food to local
food shelves. I chose this non-profit this year to bring awareness
to the hunger that is happening right here in our community. This
money will help provide 4851 meals to 135 families in need here in
the Twin Cities.

My biggest obstacle organizing this event is finding the sponsors that will
cover the cost of the lunch/dinner, T-shirts, and large prizes. I do
face a lot of rejection while I contact local businesses either face
to face or on the phone. I have to remain focused and driven and
communicate to these businesses how important it is to support my
volunteer efforts and help people in need by educating our youth. I
have learned how to network and communicate with all different
personalities, and just be patient. I also have to remember that
these businesses are asked so much for sponsorship opportunities and
free gift cards. I always approach it with a positive attitude
whether they are able to give this year or not. It is always
important to leave that door open for future opportunities.

Over the past three years, my Golf Fore Good event has raised over $5,700 and 600
pounds of food for 5 non-profit recipients. Each year 55+ junior
golfers participate, at the end of the event I discuss the specific
non-profit that we are highlighting and the needs that they have.
The first year, I brought awareness to a local mobile home park
called Mobile Hope. I educated the junior golfers on how they can
help. After that event several junior golfers volunteered their time
to help kids with homework and organize playground games. The second
year, I educated the golfers about Second Harvest Heartland, and
later learned, that many of them took time to volunteer and make rice
bags for their food shelves. This year, I spoke about The Food Group
and how they can help by volunteering at their warehouse to put
together food containers for their food shelf shipments.

I am hopeful that I made a big impact teaching these junior golfers
that there are needs in our community and they can help now and in
the future. All these past experiences have influenced me to be more
aware of local needs and that even a little bit of effort can make a
big impact on peoples’ lives. Throughout my life, I hope to
continue to bring awareness, hope, and be helpful to people in need
and service others.

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