58 junior players braved the rain and played in the Eagles Wings Junior Mid-Atlantic Regional on Saturday. Despite the morning rain and an ominous forecast, the clouds parted and we had beautiful sunshine for most of the round. Players from 4 to 18 years old each played on one of 3 different 18 hole layouts. We were excited to see that many of our competitors were playing in their first tournament, and for a few, it was their first time playing disc golf.
Each player received a generous player pack with included a shirt, hat, 2 discs, a mini, and more. This was possible thanks to the support of our sponsors: D-Town Disc Golf, Innova, Dynamic Discs, Dude Disc Golf Apparel, Zing Minis, Paragon, Chick-fil-A, and Jeff Daniel’s Jeep.
After getting their player pack, the competitors ate a free breakfast provided by Ridgeline Community Church. Then they attended a clinic taught by top local pros before heading out to play the round. The event concluded with a free Chick-fil-A lunch, some games, a free raffle, and awards.
All of this would not be possible without the continued support of our sponsors and an all-star volunteer crew. We are grateful for all who contributed to the day.
When we started our Junior Grant Program this year we were blown away by some amazing junior disc golfers who are really doing some great things both on and off the course. They have all worked so hard to make a difference while working on their own disc golf game. Our main objective was never to support the best players, but those who understand the importance of giving back and investing in those around them. What has been particularly exciting is that it seems to have worked out that we chose not only great ambassadors, but also incredibly talented players as we saw at the PDGA Amateur Disc Golf World Championships in Iowa this year.
While that was a great week together we now want to celebrate another achievement of one of our grant winners. Recently, 14 year old Silas Schultz, had an incredible showing at the Next Generation Disc Golf National Championships. This tournament was the culmination of a series of events from around the country with the intention of finding the top amateur player who would be rewarded with a brand new car. Not only did Silas make it to the tournament, a great accomplishment in itself, he never found himself outside the top three throughout the event! After taking a one stroke lead into the finals he ended up finishing second place after an epic six hole playoff by just a stroke.
We are incredibly proud of Silas for not just the way he competed, but for how he conducted himself on the course throughout the competition. Over the past several days we received a number of comments from people who met Silas at this event and were compelled to tell us how great a young man he is! Check out the video below to watch some of the coverage.
While we do not have all the details in place quite yet we are excited to announce that we will be again offering a junior grant for 2018. This year we were able to give the grant to four winners, and in 2018 we are planning to extend this offer to six young disc golfers! In addition to that part of the grant will be paid entry to either the Junior Disc Golf World Championships OR the United States Junior Disc Golf Championships. Both of these events are brand new for 2018 and we are excited to be playing a role in both. We could not have offered the grant without the support from a great set of sponsors this past year. If you are interested in being part of our Junior Grant in 2018 please contact Dustin Leatherman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2017 Am and Jr. Worlds was an amazing gathering of some of the best Amateur disc golfers in the world, and it was a pleasure to be part of it as an organization! We had three of our full-time staff members there, and three of our junior grant recipients. There were over 600 players competing, and a jam-packed schedule for the week for all the competitors between rounds of disc golf, and fun activities for them to do. Our staff got to meet so many great people during the week, and we can’t wait to come again to this event and invest in this awesome gathering of competitors!
Jim Schultz headed up the Eagles Wings components of the event which started off with a chapel open to all competitors. To kick off the event all the players gathered for a players meeting, and our chapel was scheduled to follow. Unfortunately, the players meeting ran long, but we still had over 25 people attend to listen to a message from Jim and worship together. A local church, Edgewood Baptist Church, partnered with us and led us in a great time of singing and worship. All in all it was a greatly encouraging time of believers gathered together.
Part of the junior grant included a dinner for recipients and their families. Jim hosted the first night of competition and it was a privilege to spend this time with a wonderful group of young players. Jim got to share about Eagles Wings and one of the winners let him know of all the help she received to get to the competition; Eagles Wings was her favorite because it involved faith! Beyond the dinner, Jim got to spend at least one round with each competitor as he caddied for them and continued to build the relationship with them and their families.
After already participating in the Professional and Amateur World championships we will next head to Grand Rapids, Michigan to participate in the World Championships for the age-protected divisions. Jim will again run a chapel for the competitors, and will himself be competing!
Every year the team at Eagles Wings Disc Golf tries to select at least one tournament to bring as many staff to as we can in order to run as much program as we can and to connect with each other from the different regions we are running program. This year we all gathered in Emporia, Kansas for the Glass Blown Open!
The Glass Blown Open has a long running reputation for being one of the biggest and best run tournaments of the year and have for at least the third time now been a stop on the PDGA National Tour. This year there were over 1,100 players in the tournament and many more that came as spectators and volunteers. It was the perfect opportunity for Eagles Wings Disc Golf to make an impact in the disc golf community as well as for the kingdom of God.
It started with an opportunity to partner with a local church to run a disc golf clinic for the local community. Kids, parents and people of all ages came out to learn the great sport of disc golf. Everyone had a great time. The highlight may have been one of the younger kids sinking an approach shot from about 100 feet away!
We were also able to do a service project as a team in order to prepare a course for the Junior Challenge event at the end of the Glass Blown Open week. We has a few people picking up trash and others clearing some brush around fairways. There was also considerable time put into painting lines and putting flags down to mark out of bounds as well as time building a bridge out of shipping pallets for kids to cross a small stream.
At the players meeting with most of the 1,100 players Eagles Wings was mentioned and people were invited by the main tournament director to attend our chapel service to take place after the players meeting. The publicity was amazing and unexpected and led to one of the better attended chapel service that Eagles Wings has put on. We were blessed to have a guest speaker and guest musicians help out at our chapel service. These guests were part of a missions team from Colorado that came to volunteer at the tournament.
The tournament itself was a great experience for the Eagles Wings team. Dustin Leatherman spent many long hour as an assistant course director. Jim Schultz shot two solid rounds to finish in second place in his division. Hannah Leatherman shot a solid first round followed by a very hot second round to finish as a Co-Champion of the pro women’s division. It was also a blessing to see at least two others who attended the chapel service win their respective divisions.
Even with bad weather moving in, Dustin, Hannah and Jim were also able to run the Junior event. The morning clinics had to be moved indoors but everyone had a blast. The kids braved the weather in the afternoon to complete their tournament round.
It was truly a blessing for Eagles Wings to be at the Glass Blown Open. We look forward to doing it again next year!