The Disc Golf Pro Tour is back on the west coast, which is conveniently closer to Uplay's home base. This proximity provides the opportunity for our Operations Manager, Dustin Keegan, and myself to reunite with our incredible staff, partners, and friends on tour, and teach the events that we so proudly launched with the DGPT back in 2020! We wanted to do something unique, and found an extraordinary opportunity for the 6th stop on the DGPT Elite tour for our Community Connect program!
We were able to teach at the Boys and Girls Club of Tracy in Tracy, CA. The owner of OTB Discs, and presenting sponsor of the tournament, Danny Corbett, grew up in Tracy and attended this specific Boys & Girls Club and the middle school attached to the club. Two years ago, Danny, Leonard Muise (OTB course designer), and local DG member Jonno, installed a community disc golf course across the street from the boys & girls club in a park that is shared between Monte Vista Middle School, McKinley Elementary School, and Merrill F West High School. It was Debra Corbett, Danny’s mother, who made the special request to Uplay, that during OTB we would visit and support this specific Club and help revamp the excitement of disc golf in all 3 neighboring schools.
We brought in a super team of coaches for this event, consisting of Zoe AnDyke, Dustin Keegan, Ella Hansen, Paige Pierce, Holyn Handley, and OTB Staff Member and former student of the Boys & Girls Club of Tracy, Sam Aldrich. Sam also attended Monte Vista middle school, and students cheered and found him instantly relatable being from their neighborhood and club!
We taught a total of 54 middle school students, 4 youth staff monitors, and 2 Club staff members the basics of putting and driving.
There were so many highlights and the kids were absolutely having the time of their lives, but one moment shined brighter than all the rest. That moment was when the group only had a few throws remaining in the driving lines drill before closing class. We had just introduced the concept of making a hole-in-one and that it is called an "ACE" and told the entire class that they will be going home with professional equipment if anyone makes an ace. The basket was around 150ft away and we had a stiff 20mph tailwind. Nobody had gotten that close so far but a young man stepped up and used his newly learned techniques to throw a backhand drive straight into the basket, exploding the chains and sending the entire class into uncontrolled mayhem. It's the moment you live for as a teacher and those are the moments that really send a ripple of excitement through the entire community.
Among our regular program donations to the schools and youth organizations, Uplay was able to donate our Basics curriculum books to all 3 PE departments of the neighboring schools.
Please enjoy checking out some memories from our day, thanks to Angie Smith:
Please also share Uplay's website: uplaydiscgolf.org with other people and potential partners that you may know, to help us sustain and continue to provide these amazing programs.
2023 Stats & donations:
Kids taught - 598 kids between 5 - 18 years old
Baskets donated - 12
Discmania discs donated - 540
Udisc sponsored putter to giveaway to kids - 1,884
Trash Panda minis - 1,034
In total, Uplay has taught at 3 schools, a YMCA camp, two different Boys and girls clubs, and the First Tee of Austin (partnered with the golf camp) program. We have donated 14 curriculum books in total, and 11 of those were to PE departments that were in the same community, like MCO or the neighboring schools here in Tracy, CA.
Just knowing that each of the PE teachers that received our books is committed to teaching disc golf tells us that more than 10,000 students have access to learning about disc golf in 2023 so far, and we are striving to make that number as high as possible before this season is finished.