Throughout the next several months, we will begin a four-part series called Leadership Links: My Story. The series will consist of blogs written by AJGA juniors who are members of the Leadership Links Program. These posts will highlight some of the more than 300 juniors who give back to their communities and what motivates them to be involved in the program.
Mason Weld, Class of 2015, Helotes, Texas
Mason has played in AJGA tournaments since 2011. He has put together five top-15 finishes, including a victory at the 2012 Junior All-Star at Townsend Ridge. Mason, a junior in high school, has made a verbal commitment to Sam Houston State University.
I decided to get involved in the AJGA Leadership Links program to raise donations and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. I am proud to belong to a military family. My father is an active duty Air Force Colonel and is stationed at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.
Five years ago, my dad was deployed and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Fortunately, he returned from war uninjured, but many soldiers return from war with horrible, life-altering injuries. I have actually met some of these wounded heroes. Since we are an active duty family, we get our medical care at San Antonio Military
Medical Center, and I see wounded warriors every time I go.
Many of these wounded heroes have severe burns, are missing limbs and some are in wheelchairs. Many of them look even younger than me. Since I am a military dependent, I get to see these heroes in person, but many Americans never see these wounded heroes face-to-face.
Through my involvement with Leadership Links, I hope to raise more awareness of wounded warriors because I strongly believe these soldiers deserve our thanks and support, and I don't think we appreciate them nearly enough.
Madison Kerley, Class of 2015, Scottsdale, Arizona
Madison is in her fifth year with the AJGA and she has amassed 14 top-15 finishes. Her best finish was a runner-up showing at the 2012 David Toms Foundation Shreveport Junior. Madison, a junior in high school, has made a verbal commitment to Arizona State University.
When I was younger and just beginning to become involved in golf, I was fortunate enough to have parents who loved the game and were able to support me. Through some of my golf experiences, I have met some great kids who were not as fortunate. These experiences are what motivate me to give back and the Leadership Links program is the perfect opportunity to do that. I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to be able to play this great game and that is why I chose to raise money for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program.
Jack Nicklaus is a role model of almost anyone who plays golf. He is one of my role models not only because of his remarkable golf, but also because of how he gives back. His support of kids and their health is one of the many reasons I look up to this golf icon.
The ACE Grant program is important to me as well because it gives deserving kids a chance to play competitive golf. My experience with Leaderships Links has helped me both on and off the course, and I encourage all juniors to become involved with this great program!