Updated: October 13, 2017
In this spotlight article, we are honored to feature Emanuel Kasio, the director and founder of Golf for Kids Kenya based in Nairobi. Emanuel is a graduate of the United States International University (USIU), Nairobi and a holder of a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership from National University in the USA.
In 2015 and 2016, Emanuel was named a top-50 kids teacher by US Kids Golf, a recognition bestowed on top youth golf teachers who operate cutting-edge golf programs within the US and around the world.
2018 PGA of America Youth and Family Golf Summit (YFGS) promo that features Emanuel
He will tell us more about this venture and any advice he might have for anyone in the Diaspora seeking to return and set up a business in Kenya.(Learn more about Golf for Kids on their Facebook page.)
Emanuel can you tell us about Golf for Kids?
Golf for Kids is a school-based program that is dedicated to instilling life skills in kids through the sport of golf. We started the program in 2011 initially supporting two schools, but we are currently managing a growing number of schools program in Kenya and the larger East African region.
We have built a strong brand, presence and recognition for golf in several school sports departments using the U.S Kids Golf curriculum. We have also established junior leagues that aim to nurture holistic golfers in pre-school and elementary school levels.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Golf for Kids?
I grew up in Kajiado and around long distance running and that was the “cool” sport in our area. And I was very active in high school track and field. I however developed an interest in golf when I first went to the USA for my undergraduate studies back in 1998.
I was attracted to the uniqueness of golf, moderately learned and continued to enjoy the sport. After finishing graduate school, I was excited and looked forward to coming back home to Kenya and apply the exposure, education and skills that I had acquired.
18 years after I first held a golf club, Golf for Kids was established. So this was a venture that was a long time in the making.
What teaching programs do you offer?
As I mentioned, Golf for Kids is dedicated to providing affordable junior golf instruction at the early formative stages of kindergarten and elementary school.
We offer a paid international schools program that develops young golfers of all levels. Most importantly, we strive to teach them life skills that they can apply and become good citizens of the world.
We are also dedicated to teaching golf as a way of alleviating poverty. We offer a free Community Kids Golf Program to public schools. Such mentoring programs work to build self esteem in kids, especially those coming from low income areas. Our Community Kids Golf Program has made an impact not only in Kenya but also across the border in places like Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
One of our goals is to change the public view of the game of golf as an “elitist” sport – we want to make it accessible to every child in East Africa.
You are a certified US Kids Golf Coach. What does that entail?
The U.S Kids Golf certification is key to what we do in Kenya. This is because of it offers a holistic approach to nurturing young golfers. The main goal is to improve a child’s social, psychological and physical attributes through the sport of golf. It therefore entails providing training to the coach on curriculum development, coaching, golf events management and golf course demarcation projects.
What are the advantages of teaching golf as a sport to young kids?
Golf as any other sport can be used to enhance learning skills and self-esteem for all kids. Our organization aims to empower trainers, educators and volunteers in passing the culture of golf to the society at large. We are hopeful that through our initiatives, the sport will grow across our boundaries and reach all kids across East Africa.
Teaching young children the game of golf is a privilege and comes with great responsibility. The challenge is to cultivate their skills while sustaining their interest and preserving the joy of the game for them. The reward for us is a happy smile and the fact that the knowledge they acquire will allow them to enjoy the game for a lifetime.