A Helping Hand: Legal Group Reaches Out to Assist YOC Program
It happened because of Sandra Day O’Connor. The Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States spoke to a room full of female professionals at an event a few years back, and Cynthia Cohen was struck with an idea. She was actively involved with the Women’s Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA), which provided a multitude of opportunities and support systems for up-and-coming lawyers and young professionals, but what about those more advanced in their careers? It seemed to Cohen that programming became less and less as women worked their way through the ranks.
“Women with established careers still need a support system,” Cohen says. “They still need networking opportunities and a place to share their experiences. I realized we didn’t have specific programming for our seasoned veterans.”
She didn’t know it at the time, but the answer lay with golf and the SCGA.
After talking with Ruth Kahn, the then-president of the WLALA, the two began putting together new programming. Included was a one-day golf clinic and seminar, in which 30 women — many with little to no golf experience — participated. The group had SCGA Youth on Course join the event’s speakers’ panel, where they discussed the importance of golf in professional life and stressed how important it is to involve kids with the game at a young age.
The event was a hit. The women loved it, making it clear that golf programming was a must on the WLALA event schedule.
“Golf is a great equalizer,” Kahn says. “You can play with a mix of ages and skill sets. It’s hard to find that in other activities.”
Cohen got started right away, forming a golf league as well as an SCGA golf club. The endeavors have now attracted more than 75 women from the WLALA chapter, and the spring/summer league schedule includes 15 events across the Southern California area, including two SCGA Member Outings.
But the women weren’t done. After including Youth on Course in their original clinic, the group was struck by the work the organization does for junior golfers, and especially young girls. WLALA reached out and asked if there was any way they could support those efforts.
“It’s always amazing when an SCGA club reaches out in hopes of supporting our program,” says Jen Alban, director of programming for Youth on Course. “There are so many ways for clubs to get involved with what we’re doing, it’s just finding the best match for that specific group.”
For WLALA, the natural fit was career mentoring for young girls. Youth on Course hosts a variety of educational outings throughout the year, so adding an event with a group of female lawyers to the schedule was an added benefit. The WLALA golf group hosted 15 juniors for a day of golf and mentoring, which featured a speaker’s panel and one-on-one time.
“Within our group, there is such a variety of professions, even though they all fit into the category of law,” Kahn says. “For some girls, law school isn’t an option, but there are women in our group who didn’t take that route as well and have gone on to successful careers as court reporters. We were able to match a lot of women with like-minded juniors.”
The women hosted the juniors for golf, in addition to raising funds for YoC’s girls committee, which provides specific programming for female junior golfers.
“The mentoring values held by YoC aligned perfectly with those of WLALA,” said Kahn. “It’s just been a great fit and we look forward to doing more with such a great group of young girls.”
If your club wants to get involved with Youth on Course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.