At Youth on Course, we’re all about access. We believe that providing all youth with affordable access to golf can change the trajectory of a young person’s life. For Camille O’Halloran, a YOC member from Northfield, New Jersey, the game of golf provided opportunities for her to pave her own way through overcoming obstacles, making meaningful connections, and ultimately earning a college scholarship and a spot on a collegiate golf team.
Camille, like many kids, tried a wide variety of sports, but once she found golf she fell in love with it.
“When I was young, 6 or 7 years old, my parents were just throwing me in any sport to see if I’d like something, and one day they took me out to The First Tee of Atlantic City and I tried it and I really liked it so I stuck with it. I started taking lessons to see if I could improve my game.”
After years of continued lessons and falling more in love with the sport, Camille wanted to join her high school golf team and start taking golf more seriously. However, in her community opportunities and a general local interest in girl’s golf were limited to a point where her high school didn’t even have a girl’s team – but that didn’t stop her. As a freshman, Camille had the opportunity to be 1 of only 2 girls to join the boy’s golf team. Though she says that her male teammates were welcoming for the most part, being one of the only girls on the team definitely had its’ challenges.
“The biggest challenge was probably them not taking me as seriously as their male teammates. A lot of girls – at least around here – don’t take golf very seriously. So the huge challenge for me was gaining respect from the team.”
When we asked Camille who her role model is, she quickly responded “My Mom”.
“She has taught me a good mindset, how to deal with things in life, the type of attitude to have, the way you have to persevere and push through things no matter what happens. She’s been teaching me that my whole life.”
So pushing through adversity was something ingrained inside of Camille, and she was able to keep her head down, work hard to improve her game, and ultimately earn the respect of all of her teammates.
“When I’m on the golf course, it really is all up to me. I’m playing the course, I’m not playing another person. I like the fact that I can see a lot more results just practicing myself. By my junior and senior year I was the elder on the team so that’s when I got the most respect from the guys on the team…they treated me like any other guy on the team.”
Another opportunity Camille seized through golf was joining Youth on Course! Although YOC has only been in her area for about 2 years, the second her Mom learned about it through the Golf Association of Philadelphia, she signed Camille up and began to spread the word. Camille invited her friend to join so they could practice together.
“It [Youth on Course] really gives people a chance to try golf and play golf and not worry about the money. My friend had played golf a little bit when he was younger and I suggested trying out for the team, but he said he didn’t have anywhere to practice and that it was too expensive. And so I told him about YOC and said we can go out and play together. You can really grow a golf community by opening up that opportunity for people to play.”
Camille says she also has her golf coach to thank for not only improving her game, but also for getting her to think about her future.
“My coach has not only expanded my game, but he has gotten me to think over the years about what I want to do about college, what I want to major in, things like that. He was willing to help me plan what the whole college experience would be. So in addition to golf, he was a great life mentalist.”
We are excited to be a part of Camille’s bright future, as she was awarded a Youth on Course College Scholarship this year.
“I knew I was going against a lot of great kids in the [Youth on Course] program. It was just an incredible feeling and an incredible burden lifted.”
The YOC team was thrilled that Camille and her Dad could fly across the country from New Jersey to be in attendance at the 2019 Youth on Course Scholarship Luncheon in Oakland, CA, where she had the chance to meet her YOC scholarship donor. For Camille, golf has been all about opportunity and we are so proud of her and her accomplishments. She will be attending Alleghany College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in the fall where she has earned a spot on their women’s golf team.