You have to wear a lot of different hats before you can become the leader of a First Tee chapter.
Michael Pius has a large collection of headwear that he can now set aside and just put on one hat when he comes to work in the Upstate.
Pius is the new Executive Director of The First Tee of the Upstate. The chapter consolidates Greenville, Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties First Tee programs into one.
“In order to fully realize the benefits that the merger of The First Tee of Greenville and The First Tee of Spartanburg & Cherokee Counties provides, we knew we needed to find a seasoned leader with the experience and desire to take our chapter to the next level,” said Ron Rasmussen, Board President of The First Tee of the Upstate
Pius was the senior program director for the First Tee chapter in Washington and Northern Virginia. He spent five years with the program.
“I’ve found my niche working with Junior golfers,” said the new Upstate Executive Director. “I enjoy the opportunity to impact young lives through golf and the character The First Tee develops,” he said.
Pius is a Penn State graduate of the school’s Professional Golf Management program. He is a PGA professional and has been honored as the 2017 Youth Player Development Leader for the Middle-Atlantic Section of the PGA of America.
While golf and character development are the goals of The First Tee, it takes funding to accomplish the goal.
Pius also has a background in fundraising and will be working with the advisory boards in Greenville and Spartanburg to insure the organization has the resources to carry out its mission.
The new Executive Director brings a great deal of enthusiasm to the new job. One of the challenges he faces is blending the two separate chapters into one.
Historically the Spartanburg – Cherokee Chapters have been very strong in the operation and program aspects of the First Tee. Greenville has lagged behind.
Pius has quickly observed the strength of the Spartanburg-Cherokee County programs and hopes to bring the Greenville programs up to their level.
“Audrey Church has done a fantastic job in Spartanburg and we want to build up the programs at our other locations so they are as effective as the one at Woodfin Ridge,” said Pius.
Spring classes are underway at the eight locations in the Upstate. The First Tee operates programs in Greenville at Botany Woods, Legacy Pines, Green Valley and Carolina Springs. In Spartanburg the First Tee is located at Woodfin Ridge, Willow Creek. Carolina Country Club and in Gaffney at Cherokee National.
First Tee programs are available to youngsters age 6 to 18. The First Tee teaches the Nine Core Values that represent the many positives that come from the game of golf.
“When The First Tee focuses on fun and integrates golf skills and character development into the activities is when we can do the most good for the kids,” concluded Pius.
Information about The First Tee Upstate is available at http://www.firstteeupstate.org.