Catching up with 2016 Toyota Everyday Heroes honoree Tracy Pointer
Launched at the 2013 espnW: Women + Sports Summit, the Toyota Everyday Heroes program annually honors individuals who are working to promote sports for girls and women in their local communities. Three honorees were named to the 2016 class, and we've been catching up with them throughout the summer to see how the grants are helping their organizations.
Tracy Pointer is the founder of the GROW (Golfers Recognizing Opportunities for Women) and GROW Girl organizations in Nashville, Tennessee, that teach minority women and girls how to golf. Established in 2007, GROW sought to equip minority women with the ability to foster professional development through golf, while GROW Girl was designed to introduce the sport to girls at a younger age with the intention and hope of opening new opportunities (from scholarships to careers) for the estimated 15 participants who go through the program annually.
In May we caught up with Pointer at the espnW: Women + Sports, Chicago event.
espnW: What has it meant to you to be honored as a Toyota Everyday Hero?
Tracy Pointer: The recognition and validation is huge. It's also a responsibility to continue doing what I'm doing and to think of other ways to grow bigger and broader.
espnW: What was at the heart of your original idea behind GROW?
TP: Wanting professional women to understand why they should be playing, for relationship building and for opportunities to show your professional seasoning on the golf course -- from the strategic component when it comes to which clubs to use, to integrity with the scorecard, to etiquette with showing up on time and being courteous when someone else is hitting. Things that say, "I want to do business with this person," or, "This is someone who is a future leader."
espnW: And what is at the root of your passion for GROW Girl, specifically?
TP: The passion is for girls to realize the scholarships that exist in golf. It's an untapped resource; there's a lot of scholarship dollars that do not get awarded to girls because there aren't many girls in golf. It's a non-traditional sport. The overall goal is to get more girls involved in the game.
espnW: How have you seen GROW and GROW Girl impact the women and girls who have participated?
TP: When espnW came out over the summer, there were two girls I featured in the video. One of the young ladies had done the GROW Girl lesson a few years prior, and I noticed then that she had the swing; she had the "it" factor. So she stayed engaged and started growing her game from there. Now she plays for her high school team and is hopefully going to be getting a scholarship. Success stories like that really help to motivate me to keep the program going.
espnW: What are your long-term hopes for GROW?
TP: I want to sustain the chapter in Nashville and launch another in Atlanta, [where I've just moved]. Eventually I'd like to grow chapters that aren't only unique to where I'm living. I also have this vision of GROW becoming a component under a larger umbrella of other golf organizations, that play together.