Inaugural Fellows Class Begins Work (and Play) at Quaker Ridge

Quaker Ridge Fellows class of 2021
Top row: Denver Matthews, Alexander Ciriaco and Darrin Greaves II. Bottom row: Ellis Renwick-Archibold, Brittney Benjamin, Luis Gonzalez and Shana Belfast. Not pictured: Miles Renwick-Archibold.

For the eight young people who make up our first class of Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows, this was a week of new experiences: starting new jobs, meeting new people, studying new topics, getting familiar with new surroundings, and learning new sports, just to name a few.

“To say I felt out of place was an understatement,” Brittney Benjamin, who just graduated from New Rochelle High School and is headed to the University of Pennsylvania, said of her first-day jitters. “I had never even touched a golf club except digitally on my Nintendo Wii, so I wasn’t fully sure what I was getting into.”

Although Brittney and the other fellows were in unfamiliar surroundings, we hope they felt at home by the end of Tuesday’s daytime orientation and evening reception. The orientation included ice-breaker activities, an introduction to the golf course and A.W. Tillinghast by Golf Course Superintendent Thomas Ashfield, and presentations by various Quaker Ridge department heads, who were also interviewed by the students.

In the evening, the fellows were joined by their families for a reception, where they heard from Jeff Shapiro, the club president; Farrell Evans, Momentum’s co-founder and executive director; and John Fizer, a Momentum board member.

The eight fellows will work in pairs this summer in different areas of the club: Ellis Renwick-Archibold and Brittney Benjamin will be working in the kitchen, Miles Renwick-Archibold and Alexander Ciriaco with the grounds crew and management departments, Darrin Greaves II and Denver Matthews in the golf shop, and Shana Belfast and Luis Gonzalez in the tennis shop.

The fellows will be at the club every week from Wednesday through Sunday, with Wednesdays devoted to a series of workshops about journalism, financial literacy, golf course architecture, college applications, career counseling and more. Thursdays through Sundays will be devoted to working in their various departments. Each day will also include golf and tennis instruction.

Sam Weiss, cofounder of Momentum, conducted a workshop on Wednesday that focused on nonprofits. He and the fellows discussed how Momentum was started and why golf is a focus of the program, and then they broke into groups so the fellows could brainstorm ideas for their own nonprofits. Everyone came up with an organization idea and developed a mission statement. The great ideas included nonprofits focused on water sustainability, blue and green infrastructure, ambulance and urgent care assistance, mental health, STEM mentorship, college counseling, and neurodivergent awareness. Throughout the summer, the students will continue to research and develop their nonprofit concepts.

We will continue to update you on our fellows’ progress, and they will also be chronicling their summer with a series of blog posts on Stay tuned!