Four student athlete golfers have been selected as Scottsdale’s youth ambassadors to Killarney, Ireland through the inaugural International Student Golf Exchange sponsored by Scottsdale Sister Cities Association (SSCA). The students are: Payton Connelly, a sophomore at Arcadia High School; Oscar Uribe, a junior at Saguaro High School; Raleigh Lard, a junior at Horizon High School; and Aaryan Dwivedi, a junior at BASIS Scottsdale.
Dale Balvin, PGA member, founder of Golf’s Elementary and Director of Instruction for Arizona Junior Golf, will chaperone throughout the Ireland trip. A second chaperone will be JoAnn Garner, chair of SSCA’s Killarney Committee.
To be selected for the youth ambassadorship, students had to demonstrate previous golf experience, academic achievement, leadership skills and community engagement on a written application and oral interview.
“We had many worthy applicants which attests to the quality of youth golf instruction and athletics in our local schools,” noted Garner.
1st Annual Irish Golf Scramble Benefits Golf Exchange
The four SSCA Youth Ambassadors will participate in the 1st Annual Irish Golf Scramble on May 12 at Scottsdale’s Silverado Golf Club. The event is a fundraiser benefiting SSCA’s Golf Exchange and the Valley’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire which operates the Arizona Colleen and Lass, both Irish heritage programs.
May 5 is the deadline to register to participate in this day of Irish fun and camaraderie. Golfers can register as singles or foursomes and businesses or individuals can sign up for various tax-deductible sponsorships. Details and registrations at https://stpatricksdayphoenix.org/golf-exchange
Golf Exchange is June 17-26 and October 26-November 4
The exchange kicks off June 17, 2023 with the Scottsdale foursome and chaperones traveling to Dublin and Killarney to be home-hosted by the families of 4 Killarney student golfers. The Irish student delegation will be home hosted in Scottsdale from October 26 to November 4. Both itineraries include three matches for the golfers to hone their skills on noteworthy local golf courses, plus cultural excursions and volunteering with a charitable organization in the host city.
“We are grateful to Killarney Town Twinning Association for arranging tee times for our youth ambassadors at the prestigious Killarney Golf and Fishing Club and Dooks Golf Links of Glenbeigh where they’ll experience the sport beside the magical settings of Lough Leane and the Atlantic Ocean,” commented Garner.
SSCA chose to build a youth ambassador exchange around the sport of golf in recognition of its importance to both Scottsdale and Killarney, Ireland, Scottsdale’s sister city since 2020.
According to Garner, “Golf is a life-long and non-violent sport critical to the prosperity of Scottsdale; therefore Scottsdale Sister Cities is educating world-class ambassadors of peace through the game of golf.”
More information can be found on this Killarney information sheet.
Since 1969 SSCA has been building bridges of international friendship and goodwill through citizen diplomacy with 8 sister cities. Its mission is accomplished through programs of economic development and student, educational, medical and cultural exchanges to create long-term international partnerships. Visit https://www.scottsdalesistercities.org/ for details on its programs or to become a member.
Photo Caption: SSCA’s delegation of student golfers and chaperones traveling to Killarney, Ireland, June 17-26, 2023 for Inaugural International Student Golf Exchange.
(L to R): Oscar Uribe, Dale Balvin, Aaryan Dwivedi, Payton Connelly, Raleigh Lard, JoAnn Garner.