Two enthusiastic and devoted student volunteers have been awarded U.S. Kids Golf Foundation Volunteer Scholarships. And by the end of the Summer, they will be logging numerous unpaid hours during the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships as they help celebrate a dozen years that over 700 volunteers have been honored with the annual awarding of high school scholarships.
U.S. Kids Golf announced the scholarships will be given to Union Pines High School seniors and twin sisters Natalia and Elia McCollough. These scholarships are awarded for exceptional citizenship, community service, willingness to serve as a volunteer and through extra-curricular activities.
And though it is not a requirement for the scholarship, both sisters have been loyal U.S. Kids Golf volunteers over the past four years. These two rising college freshmen are students who exemplify the word ‘volunteer’ in the extreme: they have been dependable helpers by passing out caddie bibs and hats, working Championship registration and giving out player gifts. They have even been called upon in the past to translate for families from different nations.
“My favorite part of volunteering is meeting the kids and their families who come from all over the world,” Natalia added. “I also really love going to the parade and seeing who comes from where and how happy they are to be here.”
She will also use her two years of French classes to interact with people from French-speaking countries. Natalia will apply her $750 scholarship to Sandhills Community College, after which she plans to continue her Nursing education at East Carolina University. Her reasons are easy: she LOVES kids and is excited about the idea of helping people for a living.
“This U.S. Kids Golf volunteer opportunity is the thing I look forward to the most,” she said. “I am really excited to be able to volunteer again this summer, and I can’t wait to meet all of the new people who will be entering the tournament.”
Like her sister Elia, she is a resident of Carthage and has also found time to be a part of her church youth group, a member of the National Honor Society, and play high school lacrosse for Union Pines. Additionally, she has served as the Drum Major of the Union Pines Marching Band.
Elia will also attend Sandhills Community College with her scholarship, and her plans include East Carolina University Nursing school with a career plan as a nurse anesthetist. Elia has also been part of the Marching Band at Union Pines and the Lacrosse team, along with the National Honor Society and the church youth group. She chose to do community service as a member of the National Junior ROTC.
The daughter of Christine and Scott McCullough doesn’t like giving up and is very strong minded, which she feels are some of her best assets. She has also made new friends, both nationally and internationally, while helping with the golf tournaments.
“I am very honored to be receiving this scholarship because I have had a wonderful time volunteering for U.S. Kids Golf World Championships and meeting so many new people,” Elia said. “My love for golf has also grown, as well as my love for helping others.
This year marks the 16th year that U.S. Kids Golf, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, has held the U.S. Kids Golf World Golf Championships on many of the Pinehurst area courses. More than local 700 volunteers help with the event each July and August.
Chris Vonderkall, Vice President of Tournaments for U.S. Kids Golf, had great things to say about the Sandhills area volunteers and the scholarship winners.
“Through these Foundation scholarships, we are able to pay tribute to the countless hard-working volunteers from the local area, because without them, the World Championship would not be possible,” said Vonderkall. “I congratulate Natalia and Elia because they certainly represent the giving nature of the volunteers around the Pinehurst area.”
Feature photo: Natalia (left) and Elia McCollough.