First Tee Scholar Alexa Vela is building community through golf

My name is Alexa Vela, a student at Rice University studying business and sport management. 

I am also a proud First Tee alumni and Scholar who has been fortunate enough to grow up playing the game of golf, and as a result have been taught a variety of fundamental lessons and values such as patience, confidence and integrity whether on or off the course. 

All of which have been instilled within me by First Tee and have been fundamental in shaping me into the leader that I am today; dedicated to establishing an environment where everyone feels welcomed. 

This devotion to creating inclusive spaces is the result of the community and friendships that I have been granted through First Tee. 

As a First Tee participant and now alumni and Scholar, I am certain that my accomplishments and ability to effectively serve my community and college campus is the result of the program’s ability to grant me a renewed sense of confidence as well as allow me to discover the power of my voice.

Through the years, I recognized the importance of using this voice as a means to embrace my authenticity and create a space that encouraged others to embrace theirs. 

Such a realization is what not only led me into my current academic areas of interests, sport management and business, with the intent to unite my love for growing the game of golf with my curiosity on how the game can take active strides in becoming more inclusive and accessible to individuals from diverse backgrounds, but is what recently empowered me to revamp the Club Golf Team here at Rice University. 

Growing golf in Houston has been especially important to me, considering that it is where I learned to love the game, but also where I was able to witness firsthand the impact that having access to the game of golf can have in the lives of many. Whether it be the ability to develop and foster community or be granted a space where you can enjoy yourself in nature, I recognized that very need here on Rice’s campus. 

After a year of researching the process and correct steps to take in order to make this dream a reality, the club team was established in January of this year! 

The team essentially provides all Rice students the opportunity to play golf, whether it be recreationally or competitively by participating in tournaments where students have an opportunity to represent Rice as a team, regardless of previous exposure or experience with the game. 

My vision for the team is to create community on the golf course by allowing all students to have the opportunity to participate in practices or tournaments without having to incur a huge financial undertaking. 

In addition to this, the club golf team’s presence on campus provides an outlet for females at Rice to play golf competitively considering the school does not currently have a women’s golf team. 

With our first golf tournament as a team in the books, I am excited to see the future of Club Golf here at Rice and the impact it will create here on campus. 

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