County cuts First Tee program - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

County cuts First Tee program

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

A children's golf program is under the microscope, as Woodbury County leaders look to hold the line on property taxes.

The county supplements $75,000 in funding to First Tee, which teaches social skills through the game of golf.

County leaders said they can't afford to be the main financial source, and also expressed concern that the program wasn't focused on at-risk youth.

They voted to reduce two-thirds of the funding for the summer session and then eliminate it all together in October.

A program representative said 60% of the 250 children enrolled come from low-income families.  Twelve-percent had the program fee waived.

Organizers said the program is about more than just golf because lessons learned on the links can be helpful in life.

"It provides character education.  It provides social skills training. It develops into good peer development.  Cutting the program would be detrimental to a large part of the community," said Mark Olsen, the county's Juvenile Detention Director.

About 250-kids were enrolled last year.  Olsen said First Tee will reach out to other organizations like the Sioux City Community School District, to preserve the program.          

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