The IESA conducts 26 separate boys' and girls' state athletic tournaments for its member schools. Founded in 1929, the association has over 700 member schools and is still growing. Golf will now be added to that championship lineup beginning in next year. Expanding the activities we offer to include a golf championship increases the number of students who participate in IESA activities, said Steve Endsley, Executive Director. Golf is an activity that provides a tremendous amount of learning opportunities and education while participating. It teaches ethics, sportsmanship, and self-control. The Kids Golf Foundation, one of the largest junior golf associations in the state, is part of the Planning Committee for the championship. The partnership between the Foundation and the IESA is extremely valuable since these organizations have similar beliefs and goals for their youth. Similar to the IESA, the Foundation believes that sport reinforces life lessons and emphasizes this throughout their programs and events. Offering a championship for elementary schools can only aid in the development and future of golf in our state, said Holly Alcala, Director of the Foundation. We are pleased to be a part of the Planning Committee and look forward to helping develop and promote the championship to our program sites. Since 2001, the Foundation has been offering indoor and outdoor junior golf programs around the state to youth organizations that are in need of a structured curriculum. Last year, over fifty percent of the organizations that worked with the Foundation were elementary schools. We became involved in our first elementary school in 2001, said Alcala. Offering a sport like golf may seem challenging in a physical education or after school setting, however with our SNAG School Program and the equipment, resources and training that we offer, we make it as easy as possible. In the past decade, the Foundation has witnessed golf's popularity rise in youth organizations.