For Owensboro, Kentucky, employees Amanda Billingsley, Derek Dever and Rachael Faulkner, golf is a favorite pastime and it’s certainly a game they’ve played in the business world. Rachael even competed collegiately at Southwest Minnesota State University and says it’s a sport that has deeply impacted her life.
“Golf is a lifelong sport with opportunities for growth, often utilized in business environments,” said Faulkner. “Being a female golfer, having opportunities to play with senior leaders and vendors is very beneficial.”
In 2019, she and Billingsley played in a golf scramble in support of Girls Inc. of Owensboro Daviess County, which is about 100 miles southwest of Louisville, and had a brainstorm. What if they teamed up with other employees and taught local students how to play the game?
“We presented the idea to the Greater Western Kentucky Business Resource Group (which is made up of employees in the area) and everyone was really excited,” added Faulkner. So, the group determined they would purchase sets of golf clubs and offer ongoing lessons to the girls. Girls Inc. was on board, too.
Then COVID-19 happened.
Dever stored the golf clubs at his home and then, finally, in October of this year the three along with other volunteers launched the program. They donated 17 sets of golf clubs and, for the first lesson, had approximately 15 Girls Inc. members present.
“Many of the girls have never played golf before and I have loved seeing the excitement from them, as well as the confidence they are gaining from improving each week!” he said.
Dever is the father of two daughters, ages 7 and 13, and says he’s seen firsthand the benefits of what the sport of golf can give individuals in the corporate world.
“There have been numerous occasions that I have had the privilege to be able to network with top executives and I believe these opportunities have helped further my career,” he said. “For my daughters, I want them to have the same opportunities, and have exposed them to the game of golf to give them a skill that can set them apart from others.”
Billingsley added, “I enjoy playing golf and also have two daughters who play. I’ve seen even at an early age how golf has built relationships for them and provided opportunities they would have never been involved in if it wasn’t for golf.”
Owensboro Daviess Girls Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tish Correa Osborne said, “The girls are benefiting from this gift of resources, time and skills. This is such an incredible opportunity for us as an organization and of course, more importantly, for the girls.”
One of the participants told Osborne that she had always thought that golf was only for trained professionals, and was surprised to learn that it could be played for fun. Another said she appreciates that the U.S. Bank volunteers are encouraging girls to learn the sport because it has such a reputation as being a sport geared more toward males.
Billingsley, Dever and Faulkner have all been involved in the BRG for several years and see it as a great platform and network to make a difference in their lives at work and in the community.
“Having the opportunity to make a difference in your community is so impactful,” said Billingsley. “Working for a company that encourages volunteering and finding an event or program you have a passion for is rewarding and I would encourage everyone to explore volunteer events in their community if they haven’t had a chance to do so.”
U.S. Bank is partnering with VolunteerMatch for the sixth consecutive year for the #GiveTime campaign, encouraging people to volunteer in their communities this holiday season.