VFY & UNC FB Team Up Again

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Volunteers for Youth brought UNC football players and area youth together for a fun time on the golf course once again.

VFY, a mentoring program that matches high-risk youth with caring adult volunteers, held its ninth annual youth golf clinic, a two-hour golf session that exposes its mentees to a sport that they might otherwise not play. After a crash-course lesson on the basics and safety from the experts, the players matched up with kids to help them use what they had learned before lunch and an autograph session.

"It's a fun time," said quarterback T.J. Yates, who showed no lingering signs of a thumb injury suffered at a non-football team gathering earlier in the spring. "Everybody comes out here, and a lot of guys have no idea what they are doing, but it's fun to come out here, help the kids a little bit, and see what they've got.

"We try to give them pointers even though we don't know what we're talking about. It's fun to come out, see stuff like this and try to help the kids out and see some of the guys try to swing golf clubs."

The abilities of the players ranged from casual golfer to first-timer, but it was as much about spending time with the kids as swinging a club.

"Seeing the excitement of the kids looking forward to it each year, they ask me all the time, ‘When is the next golf thing coming up?'" said Scott Dreyer, VFY program director. "The football players get excited. We've got 40 out here today after starting with just a handful [at the first golf clinic.]

"I think it is something they look forward to too -- giving back to the community, getting to be involved with the kids, getting to be a kid for a couple of hours out here and seeing how they are looked up to. They are heroes to these [kids]."

"These kids, as soon as we get out here, they are really excited," said Yates. "We were in the parking lot, and they ran out there before we even got to the golf course to come see us and talk to us. It's definitely fun. It's cool to see the kids excited that we are out here."

In a sport that is often about brawn, it offered a peek at a softer side of the players.

"I enjoy doing stuff like this," said linebacker Bruce Carter. "Kennedy [Tinsley] and I, during the season, we went to the hospital to visit kids. It's always good to give back to the community."

For the kids, it is a chance to spend time in person with larger-than-life figures that they see on T.V.

"It's pretty cool" said Javaughn Davis, 13-year-old mentee. "I really like golfing with the football players. The defensive line are really big guys who look like they will crush you in a second, and now you get to meet them and they are down-to-earth, cool guys."

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