Junior Invitational at Sage Valley makes donation to First Tee chapters of Augusta and Aiken

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Tournament chairman Tom Wyatt (from left), Sage Valley founder Weldon Wyatt and Mark Chambers of Electrolux present $200,000 checks to members of the First Tee chapters in both Augusta and Aiken.  JOHN BOYETTE/STAFF
JOHN BOYETTE/STAFF
Tournament chairman Tom Wyatt (from left), Sage Valley founder Weldon Wyatt and Mark Chambers of Electrolux present $200,000 checks to members of the First Tee chapters in both Augusta and Aiken.

GRANITEVILLE — The executive directors of The First Tee programs in Augusta and Aiken both spend a considerable amount of time raising funds to support the organization’s initiatives.

Their jobs became a little easier Monday.

The Junior Invitational at Sage Valley presented checks to the local chapters in the amount of $200,000 each. The First Tee is a youth organization that promotes life skills and leadership through the game of golf.

“This makes it easier,” said Jill Brown, the director of the Augusta program. “It frees up more of our time to spend directly working with young people.”

Her Aiken counterpart, Elizabeth Smith, agreed. She said it will allow the program to continue outreach and work with children throughout the county.

“It takes every bit,” she said.

The Junior Invitational began in 2011. In just three years, the tournament has donated more than $600,000 to the local First Tee programs and another $100,000 in equipment to First Tee participants.

“Hopefully we’ll keep growing going forward,” said Tom Wyatt, the chairman of the tournament and president of Sage Valley.

Wyatt said the donations wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of presenting sponsor Electrolux and other key players, including Nike and Norfolk Southern.

The Junior Invitational has been the top-ranked junior event for three years running, and several of its participants are already making names for themselves.

Electrolux has fulfilled its three-year commitment, and at this year’s tournament announced it had signed on for four more years.

“Part of that platform means giving something back,” Mark Chambers, of Electrolux, said Monday.


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