Jewish American Heritage Month: Ethan Selvers shares his faith, love of golf 

Ethan Selvers believes people should be proud of who they are. It’s what inspired him and a group of classmates to speak with their school’s administration and other classmates after anti-Semitic graffiti was found on campus at his high school last year. 

“We spoke about intolerance with everyone in the class. I shared my family’s unique background, and everyone shared theirs as well. It created a very open dialogue that I think definitely helped prevent future issues from developing,” he explained. 

Ethan volunteers with sixth and seventh graders every Wednesday at his synagogue as they prepare for their bar and bat mitzvahs. “I help teach them prayers and also help them learn about Jewish traditions in a way that makes learning fun,” he said. 

In addition to his commitment to his faith, Ethan is a dedicated golfer. He fell in love with the sport after his dad started taking him to the driving range. Now 15, he’s been golfing for over half his life, and he’s been involved with First Tee – Metropolitan New York for all of that time. 

With his positive attitude and passion for the sport, and with the assistance of his First Tee coaches Peter Aloisio and Bill Castner, Ethan secured a caddy position at historic Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, which will host the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next month. He also volunteers to coach younger players through the First Tee. “I just love golf and hope to help those kids love it as much as I do,” he said. 

Last summer Ethan was selected to attend two First Tee national participant opportunities: the Game Changers Academy honoring Joe Louis Barrow Jr. and the First Tee Leadership Summit in partnership with PGA TOUR Superstore. 

The Game Changers Academy brought together 72 First Tee participants in Philadelphia. “We sat down and discussed really important topics like equality versus equity, diversity and inclusion. Meeting so many different kids from all over the country was eye opening,” Ethan said. He made the most of the opportunity and was named one of the event’s Most Outstanding Participants. 

The Leadership Summit took place in Montana, where his surroundings were picturesque, Ethan said. “At one of the first meetings we learned: ‘Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable because being uncomfortable leads to change,’” he said, which are words he has tried to live by.  Besides learning leadership skills, Ethan also said that: “The whole trip was phenomenal. We were able to listen to Michael Vick discuss his life experiences, we participated in many incredible activities, and the whole experience really exemplified how working in a group is a great way to foster change.” 

In addition to Ethan’s involvement at First Tee and his synagogue, he’s also a captain of the junior varsity Ultimate Frisbee team at his high school. He is also a dedicated student and loves math and science, which he plans to study at college.  

Learn more about First Tee’s participant opportunities