WGA Caddie Academy
The WGA Caddie Academy has returned for its third year, providing a group of young women the opportunity to work at country clubs on Chicago’s North Shore. This summer, 35 girls are participating, with 26 from Chicago’s inner-city, six from southern California, two from Philadelphia and one from Ohio.
For seven weeks from June 22-Aug. 9, the girls caddie daily at one of seven clubs – Conway Farms, The Glen Club, Glen View, Indian Hill, Onwentsia, North Shore and Westmoreland – on the North Shore, while living in the Northwestern Evans Scholarship House in Evanston, Ill. The Academy allows the girls, who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to work at a golf course, a chance to experience the benefits of caddying, from learning life lessons to being around successful adults. Those who complete the program will become eligible to apply for the Evans Scholarship.
Female Evans Scholars and Alumni live in the House as counselors, supervising and mentoring the group, as well as driving the girls to their clubs each day. Throughout the program, special activities are planned, such as a trip to a baseball game or ACT prep training.
Katelyn Mireles from North Shore Country Club is the first caddie from the Academy to earn the Evans Scholarship. She will attend Marquette University this fall.
In 2013, WGA Director Fritz Souder and his family committed to fund the Caddie Academy through 2015. Proceeds from the Women’s Invitational, now in its second year, also go toward the Caddie Academy.
The WGA Caddie Academy has experienced tremendous success and strong growth since being established in 2012, when an inaugural class of 12 took part. The Program is a core part of the Evans Scholars Foundation’s plans for growth, with a goal of sending 1,000 caddies to college by 2020. Currently, there are 840 Scholars in school at 19 universities across the country.
This story first appeared in the Summer 2013 WGA Evans Scholars Magazine. View the original story.
Last year, Shalonda Jones, 16, “had the best summer of my life.” She worked at Westmoreland Country Club and fell in love with the job that taught her about life in the real world and dealing with success and challenge. “Having the honor to be a part of this program has changed my life completely,” she says. “It has given me confidence and made me a stronger and better person.”
A junior in high school, Shalonda returned in 2013 for her second year in the WGA’s Caddie Academy. She loves living with a group of girls, and they often lean on each other for support. “You talk with them about how your rounds have gone,” she says. “We’re all going through the same thing. You never know what you’re going to get out there. You just gotta go out with a smile on your face.”
Through her participation in the Caddie Academy, Shalonda hopes to one day apply for the Evans Scholarship. She’s always known how important college is, and “it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t go,” she says. “How I would pay, now that was a different story.”
If she earns the Evans Scholarship one day, she can already imagine the feeling. “If I get it, wow,” she says. “I will probably cry, I won’t even lie.” As the youngest of seven children, she would be the first in her family to attend college. “I want to be a doctor. I’ve always wanted to give back and help others,” she says. “Getting the scholarship would help make my dreams come true. That’s why I’m out here every day on the golf course.”