Stay on Course 4 Communities Program Teaches Important Lessons through Golf

Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP Constable Tylor Copeland assists Morrisburg Public School student Joshua Stewart with his swing. (Contributed/UCDSB)

MORRISBURG – Morrisburg Public School (MPS) is teaching students important lessons through golf, while building lasting relationships with mentors in their community.

The Stay on Course 4 Communities Program is back for its fourth year. The five-week program, which began last week, takes Grade 6 students to driving ranges and golf courses once weekly. Once there, seniors mentor them on the skills needed for the game. In turn, students mentor the adults in digital skills, teaching them how to use iPads to run apps, take pictures, or make videos.

MPS teacher Sarah Barclay-Thomas says the program is a partnership between Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG) Crime Stoppers, the SDG detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police, MPS, the Morrisburg Golf Club and Archie’s golf course and mini-putt in Cornwall. The program supplies equipment, all green fees are waived, and each student participating gets a program golf shirt. SDG OPP Constable Tylor Copeland, a key founder of the program, transports the equipment to the course each week.

While outings are fun, students learn important lessons in character education, physical education, literacy and math. Golf teaches students perseverance, resilience and respect, both for the game and for the mentors teaching it to them. Each week students fill out a special sheet for Barclay-Thomas reflecting on how they demonstrated respect on the golf course, at school, their home and in the community. They are also required to keep journals about their experience with the program.

Walking the one kilometre to the golf course helps students reach physical education goals. At the course, they learn practical lessons in math in areas such as geometry. They study the angles on the heads of different clubs, how to line up a shot, and study the shot distances that can be attained with different clubs.

The program has also yielded unexpected benefits for the school. Many of the mentors from the golf program now volunteer at MPS.