May 15, 2009

USGA, AJGA Name 2009 Presidents’ Youth Leadership Award Recipients

Local juniors Herr and Gimpel honored for their exemplary community volunteerism

  Zach Herr, 14, of New Hope, Pa., and Jericho National GC, and Emily Gimpel, 16, of Lafayette Hill, Pa., and Whitemarsh Valley CC, were named the 2009 Presidents’ Youth Leadership Award recipients on May 14 by the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association.

  The award was created to recognize one boy and one girl junior golfer who have demonstrated leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the USGA • AJGA Youth Leadership Club – a joint initiative founded in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.

  Herr and Gimpel will receive their awards during the Rolex Dinner of Champions on Friday, July 3 during the Rolex Tournament of Champions at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Additionally, they each received four tickets to a U.S. Open in a year of their choice, access to the USGA hospitality tent during the U.S. Open, and an automatic entry into the 2009 Rolex Tournament of Champions—one of the nation’s most prestigious junior golf events.

  Herr and Gimpel share similar stories of service as each live in eastern Pennsylvania and were inspired to raise funds for cancer research after witnessing family members battle the disease and survive.

  After learning of his mother’s diagnosis of colon cancer in the winter of 2007, Herr began attending her radiation and chemotherapy sessions at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. As an avid golfer, he began to form ideas for fundraising and decided upon a charity golf outing benefiting Fox Chase.

  With that, the Zach Attacks Cancer Foundation was born, and he secured Jericho National, his home course, as the event host site using $3,000 of his own lawn-mowing money as a down payment. Herr then acquired more than 40 donated items for the silent auction and sold hole sponsorships on the course to raise $10,000. In the end, Herr achieved his fundraising goal, netting $60,000.

  “I didn’t think people would react the way they did,” Herr said. “I was most surprised by the number of people who wanted to help, people I didn’t even know were supportive. I guess when it’s for a good cause, people care. Golf is a game that encompasses a strong work ethic, patience, integrity, sportsmanship and companionship.”

  Gimpel’s first encounter with pediatric cancer came when her cousin was diagnosed with leukemia. After another young member of her country club was also diagnosed with cancer, she created Junior Golf Clubs Cancer (JGCC).

  Gimpel also realized that the unused golf clubs in her garage could be put to good use. She began collecting golf clubs from local country clubs and selling them on eBay and in golf stores in an effort to raise money for the St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, where her cousin received treatment.

  In addition, Gimpel created a charity golf event held at Whitemarsh Country Club, bringing in more than $30,000 for St. Christopher’s, and donated 1,500 golf clubs to The First Tee of Montgomery County. Her program continues to connect juniors to programs helping others through the game of golf.

  “I grew up playing golf, and I grew up with a background in volunteering,” Gimpel said. “I consider myself very blessed, and my parents taught me that giving back was important. I wanted to incorporate golf and giving back. I think it’s important for younger kids to get involved because golf is a great sport where you learn the important life values.”

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