Helping the future leaders of Montgomery County — and, eventually the state and the nation — has been the mantra of the Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Council ever since it was organized in 2015.
Early actions came in response to personal tragedies in the area. Those efforts continue. But the CAC has expanded to enrich the lives of young people throughout the county with programs such as the Norristown High football team’s reading program for children, blind and visually impaired programs at the Elmwood Park Zoo, the Centre Theater Music School for children who can’t afford private lessons, and the upcoming Autism Program at the Elmwood Park Zoo.
Now CAC is reaching into the world of golf … and two exceptional young citizens and golfers will be receiving the golf experience of their budding careers.
The CAC has become the sponsor of the Junior Golf Clinic that will be part of the exciting week of professional golf at Raven’s Claw Golf Club in Pottstown, when the LPGA Symetra Tour comes to the area for the inaugural Valley Forge Invitational Tournament. The tournament will be held May 21-26.
The week will begin with the Junior Clinic on Monday, May 21, 4 to 6 p.m. Admission is free to junior golfers who want to learn from some of the best young female golf professionals in the world.
On Tuesday, May 22, there will be a Meet the Pros party at historic SunnyBrook Ballroom. All players, sponsors and their guests will be part of this gala celebration.
On Wednesday, May 23 there will be a Pro-Am Tournament to kick off the week of competition. That’s where the CAC’s involvement takes a big step up.
After conferring with the Scholarship Committee of the Montgomery County Amateur Championship, two players who have competed on the Junior and Championship levels in the past were identified. Aside from being excellent golfers, they have shown accomplishment in the areas of academics, sportsmanship and service to the community.
The two young golfers who will play in the Pro-Am are Julia Genuardi of Harleysville and Caleb Ryan of West Norriton.
Along with the golf experience, the two will take part in a mentoring program with Stan Huskey, executive director of the CAC. Focus of the program will be the benefits of giving back to the community, volunteerism and remembering those who have helped you along the way.
“Being a golfer myself, I was immediately interested in the fact that the LPGA Symetra Tour was coming to Montgomery County,” explained Huskey. “I thought of the Montgomery County Amateur Championship and how it has identified so many fine young people over the years. Our mission is to help kids and this was a chance to help two deserving kids with their dreams to play golf at the highest level.”
Genuardi is a junior on the West Chester University women’s golf team. She has been a starter for three seasons and competed in 15 events last year as a sophomore, with two top-five finishes and one top-10. She finished second in the 2016 Montgomery County Women’s Amateur Championship and third in 2017. Her low score in County Am competition was a 78 last year at Raven’s Claw.
Ryan is one of the top high school golfers in the state, playing for Norristown High. He is completing his junior year. Twice he won Player of the Year honors for the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour. His success has not been restricted to the junior ranks. Last year, playing against very experienced and accomplished competition, he finished seventh in the Montgomery County Amateur Championship, including a personal County Am low of 74 in the opening round at Raven’s Claw.
Obviously, both players have an affinity for the course that will host the Valley Forge Invitational.
“It’s going to be great to see how the pros prepare for a tournament,” said Ryan. “I’ll be looking to talk to them and maybe learn from them. But I also realize that, playing in the pro-am, they show a responsibility to the sponsors who make everything possible for them.”
Genuardi has a similar outlook on her most exciting day on the golf course.
“I think it’s going to be a really cool experience. It’s going to be different from watching the tournament,” she said. “Playing alongside someone at that level is definitely an honor and a really good learning experience.”
The learning doesn’t stop on the golf course. Genuardi has been involved in a number of volunteer actions in recent years.
“Giving back is something I like to do,” she explained. “It’s in my blood and now I realize that these professional golfers are very engaged in giving back also.”
The giving will continue after the tournament is over. Following completion of the mentoring program with the CAC, both Genuardi and Ryan will receive scholarships from the Harry Mirabile Memorial Scholarship fund of the Montgomery County Junior Championship.
“It’s good to see the County Am working with this new women’s professional tournament,” said Susan Battaglia, daughter of Harry Mirabile and a member of the County Am Scholarship Committee. “These kids have shown that they are deserving recipients. There is no doubt they are good golfers and it looks like they are on the path to becoming good citizens.”
The community has already shown its willingness to give back. A large number of volunteers already have signed up for the week. A few more are still needed and can become part of the effort by calling Raven’s Claw GC head pro Jim Bromley at 610-495-4710.
Sponsorship and pro-am team opportunities also are still available. Details can be obtained by calling the tournament office at 610-279-9220.