Coachella Valley Teens Selected for First Tee’s National Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. Life Skills & Leadership Academy 96 teens tapped nationally to attend academy in Boise, Idaho July 24-30

Trinity Hernandez and Cabot Ellis from First Tee of the Coachella Valley are headed to the Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. Life Skills & Leadership Academy in Boise, Idaho July 24 – 30, 2019. Hernandez and Ellis will join more than 90 junior golfers, ages 14 – 17 years old, from First Tee chapters around the country at the youth leadership event.

Hosted by First Tee headquarters, the academy recognizes and rewards exceptional teen participants who are prepared to build upon leadership skills introduced through programs at First Tee chapters. Top coaches in First Tee’s network deliver the golf and leadership instruction that incorporate the First Tee’s Nine Core Values in a concentrated, week-long event. Participants build skills preparing them for success beyond the golf course. They will experience championship golf, career exploration, and dorm living at Boise State University; in addition, they will meet other teens from around the country sharing golf as their common bond.

About Trinity Hernandez:
Hernandez, 16, is a sophomore at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, California. Active in the First Tee of the Coachella Valley for six years, she volunteers at First Tee program classes, helps with outreach events, and speaks at different gatherings for First Tee of the Coachella Valley. She also volunteers in the local church classes for younger students, helps at her high school with swim meets, basketball games, and at a local middle school, she helps teachers with their classes.

Hernandez recently shared that “I’m very excited to go to the leadership academy in Idaho this year! I’m also very grateful that I have this opportunity because I know I’ll learn so much from this trip. I definitely can’t wait for the trip and I’m so excited to meet new friends and have fun while learning every day.”

About Cabot Ellis:
Ellis, 15, is a freshman at Palm Desert High school in Palm Desert, California. Active in the First Tee of the Coachella Valley for nine years, he volunteers at First Tee program classes, plays in events for our fundraisers, and goes to other golf tournaments to promote our chapter. He also volunteers at his father’s golf course to learn the family trade of golf course superintendent and how to take care of a premier golf course in the Coachella Valley.

“I am over the moon on the opportunity to further my golf skills and meet new people in the next month. Without the First Tee, I would not be able to meet new people and incorporate the 9 core values into my life more effectively” said Ellis.

About Dustin Smith, Program Director:
Dustin smith has served as the Program Director for The First Tee of the Coachella Valley since 2015 after having spent six years as the lead teacher. He is a PGA Class A professional (A-14 Director of Instruction) and has been in the golf industry since 1999. Smith is also a certified First Tee coach, of which there are only 260 in the whole First Tee network.
First Tee is a youth development organization dedicated to helping youth build character through the game of golf. Through in-school and after-school programs, it helps shape young people’s lives by reinforcing values like integrity, respect, and perseverance embedded in the game of golf.

For more information, visit To request an interview with Hernandez or Ellis please call 760-779-1877

About The First Tee® of the Coachella Valley
The First Tee is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation. Its mission is to impact the lives of children by providing learning facilities and educational programs to promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. The First Tee of the Coachella Valley ( is a program offered through The Desert Recreation District and supported by the Desert Recreation Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt non-profit organization. Since its beginning in 2008, The First Tee of the Coachella Valley has expanded to reach 5,000 young people annually on golf courses, in elementary schools and at other youth-serving locations. First Tee of the Coachella Valley is one of 145 First Tee chapters across the United States and select international locations.

Desert Recreation District
(DRD) is the largest park and recreation district in California, covering over 1,800 square miles and serving more than 385,000 residents throughout the greater Coachella Valley. DRD manages, maintains and assists in maintaining over 30 parks and recreation facilities; creates and delivers quality programs, services and classes; and facilitates leisure opportunities through partnerships – this community collaborative approach allows us to provide barrier-free and safe recreational activities. DRD strives to ensure the public receives personal benefits such as physical fitness, relaxation and revitalization; social benefits in the form of stronger and healthier families and enriching the lives for persons with disabilities, and economic benefits through more productive and healthier citizens and increased tourism.

The First Tee of the Coachella Valley – Media Contact: Dustin Smith (775) 722-7181,
Desert Recreation District – Media Contact: Noelle Furon, (760) 296-2201,

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