Stay On Course prepares for September tee off time

The new Stay on Course pilot program coming to grade sixes and Morrisburg and Iroquois Public Schools this fall, is meant to be mutually beneficial to the students and to their adult mentors.

Officials administering the program and school officials gathered met last week at the McIntosh Inn to discuss the program, that everyone is excited to see get started in these two local schools.

“Stay on Course” will involve community members mentoring students in the game of golf, while students mentor community members in the use of technology.

The unique pilot project was created through a partnership between the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) and Seaway Valley Crime Stoppers (SVCS). 

The program has received $30,000 in start-up funding from a federal government grant through the Eastern Ontario Development Program as part of Community Futures Development Corporations.

“This program promotes positive, proactive relationships,” said OPP Constable Peter Robertson, who came up with the concept and fostered the partnerships between all organizations involved.

“The other benefit is this is at no cost to parents,” he added. “This is a win-win situation for everyone. It’s partnership-run.”

“This game of golf will be used to highlight positive character attributes, as well as help students build confidence, self-esteem, leadership skills, decision-making skills, and relationships within their own community,” said Karen McDonald Hurley, who developed the eight week program which will run from September to October 2013.

The program includes six golf outings at local golfing facilities in Iroquois and Morrisburg, as well as online and school components.

While playing golf, students and mentors will have the opportunity to use iPads to not only learn about the game, but also to create videos and participate in additional online activities to increase overall learning.

Frank McDonald of Seaway Valley Crimestoppers said, “The Stay on Course program specifically proposes to engage the community through proactive activities. In addition to the pilot program which will allow these children to experience the game of golf, we have included program evaluation methods to track its success. As a result of this program, it is hoped both adults and students become positive contributors to their community and develop new relationships.”

“This exciting program meshes perfectly with our goal of a 90 per cent graduation rate,” said UCDSB Chair Greg Pietersma. “It is never too early to give our students additional skills and connections to help them stay connected and engaged in school. All of our students are one major incident away from being at risk.”

The team is currently looking to recruit volunteer mentors to participate in this program. Mentors would be required to spend approximately two to three hours per week with students. In addition, the team is accepting donations of starter sets of clubs for students to use.

Anyone interested in mentoring or donating a set of clubs, can contact Robertson at 613-534-2223, 613-360-0166 or peter.robertson@ontario.ca, or McDonald at fmcdonald4@bell.net.

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