Furgeson sisters fill the cup in community, golf

Sisters honored for their games and public outreach
By: Eric J. Gourley, Gold Country News Service
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Golfers Cami and Bailey Furgeson continue to establish themselves as standouts on the local links and as supporters of their community. The sisters were honored as two of the three First Annual Young Leaders award recipients at a leadership forum in Pebble Beach earlier this month. Golf legend Gary Player, a nine-time major winner, presented the awards to the surprised Furgesons. “After giving the most motivational speech I’ve ever heard he said he’d like to present an award,” said Bailey, a junior at Del Oro High. “When he said my name, I swear my heart stopped. I had no idea. It was one of the best days of my life being called up there by Gary Player and shaking his hand.” The sisters were invited to participate in the Wal-Mart First Tee PGA Tour event a year ago. During the program, they attended a Life Skills for Young Leaders Forum and were each awarded $500 grants to design and implement community social responsibility programs. After filtering feedback from area residents, Bailey donated her grant to the Senior L.I.F.E. Center of Loomis. The center used the money for lunches and activities including yoga, art and nutrition classes. Cami decided to assist Project Linus, which nationally has distributed more than three million blankets to children in need since its 1995 inception. The sisters were invited back to attend this year’s First Tee event and leadership forum as honored guests. More than 50 participants representing First Tee chapters attended the forum, which focused on health and wellness, environmental awareness and self-esteem. The 74-year-old Player, known as “Mr. Fitness,” gave a moving keynote address. The girls’ mother, Denise Furgeson, learned last month of the honor her daughters would receive, but kept it a surprise. “I got a call out of the blue from a representative from Wal-Mart saying the girls were two of three kids who were going to get the first-ever awards, how they went out of the box with their project thinking,” she said. “They put time and research into getting the community together.” The Newcastle natives were each awarded $1,000 college scholarships plus an additional $500 for their initiatives and $1,000 apiece for a new idea. While Cami is a freshman on a full-ride scholarship at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, Bailey has already approached area banks and nonprofits with hopes of tripling the money. “I want to do whatever I can to raise the most amount of money possible for a nonprofit organization,” she said. “Even with $500, I saw how excited and happy the Senior L.I.F.E. Center was. The community has done a lot for me and I want to keep giving back.” Cami was in Oklahoma this week competing in her first tournament as a St. Mary’s Rattler. She finished second on the team Monday. “She loves college,” Denise said. Last weekend, Bailey, the fundraising co-chair for The First Tee of Greater Sacramento, was one of three local golfers to receive the chapter’s prestigious Core Values award. Bailey, who carries a 4.18 grade-point average and is ranked No. 1 in her class, is eagerly anticipating her third varsity season with the Golden Eagles. “I can’t wait,” she said. “After two years of going undefeated I’m really excited to see what we can do again.”