Braselton, Ga. — John Farese of West Sayville, N.Y., was named a recipient of the 2011 Presidents’ Leadership Award, the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association announced Wednesday.
The Presidents’ Leadership Award was created to recognize one boy and one girl junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program – a joint initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.
Farese will be honored and formally presented the award during the Rolex Dinner of Champions, June 30, at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore., during the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Additionally, he will receive four tickets to a U.S. Open in a year of his choice, access to the USGA hospitality tent during the U.S. Open, and an automatic entry into the 2011 Rolex Tournament of Champions, one of the world’s most prestigious junior golf events.
Farese founded a program called Operation Sports Equipment when he was spurred by the threat of a local little league franchise folding due to lack of equipment. Additionally influenced by his grandfather’s struggle as an orphan with no athletic opportunity in his native Colombia, Farese resolved to do something.
His efforts began close to home when his own baseball team was in the process of disposing of used equipment to make room for new purchases. Farese proposed his idea of donating the used equipment to a league that was in desperate need and the program was born. Since that season, Operation Sports Equipment has expanded beyond baseball and beyond Farese’s imagination.
Operation Sports Equipment has collected, refurbished and donated approximately 10,000 pieces of athletic equipment throughout Long Island and upstate New York, as well as the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
“Although it has been a challenge to balance my volunteer work with my school work and playing sports, volunteering has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” Farese said.
For his efforts, Farese has been recognized on the local, state and national level. He has gained acceptance into the University of Notre Dame’s prestigious Minority Leadership Summer Program and has been honored by the State of New York with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
In 2005, the USGA and AJGA began their partnership with an initiative aimed at the overall growth and development of junior golfers. By emphasizing the importance of community service and education, the partnership strives to enrich the lives of junior golfers and ensure there is a high level of volunteerism around the game for many years to come.
The AJGA’s Leadership Links program and the Presidents’ Leadership Award provide AJGA members community service opportunities, which breed character and leadership development through golf. The educational component serves as a vehicle for teaching AJGA members about the Rules of Golf, Amateur Status and etiquette. To further develop the future leaders of golf, the USGA annually funds intern positions with the AJGA through the highly successful USGA P.J. Boatwright, Jr. Internship Program. These components have helped strengthen the AJGA and its mission to develop golf’s next generation.
About The AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
For more information, please contact Kristi Bradley (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the AJGA Communications Department at (678) 425-1786, or visit ajga.org.
USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award – Past Recipients
2011 John Farese (Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
2010 Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
2009 Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
2008 Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)
2007 Joseph Suarez (Richmond, Va.)
Angela Villela (Sylmar, Calif.)
2006 Adam Michel (Orinda, Calif.)
Katrina Delen-Briones (San Francisco, Calif.)