Reflections on My (Second) First Day

Brittney Benjamin

By Brittney Benjamin

First days always have a surreal feeling to them, don’t they?

Whether it’s the first day of school or the first day at a new job, they always seem to bring a familiar, stomach-twisting mix of excitement and nerves. That’s how I felt driving through the gates at Quaker Ridge and taking in the beautiful green landscape.

It was not my first day at the club, but it was my first day there as the Program Coordinator and a Momentum alumnus. (I worked with Chef Joe last summer as part of the inaugural class.) As nervous as the new Fellows might have been, I think I was about five times as nervous. I wanted everything to flow as smoothly as the plan that I put together with Nancy Degnan, my supervisor and mentor.

Meet the 2022 Quaker Ridge Fellows

We are excited to introduce the young women and men from New Rochelle High School who have been admitted to the second class of Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows for the summer of 2022.

In their applications, these students said they were eager to work with mentors and learn more about educational and career opportunities. All of the students have an academic interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as well as in the arts – music, theater, photography and communication.

The fellows also shared their perspectives on making the world a better place, exploring and honing leadership skills, and developing personal strength and resilience. They are excited to meet the members of the Quaker Ridge Golf Club while working on their golf and tennis skills and making new friends.

The 2022 Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows are:

2021 in Review: End-of-Year Letter to Our Supporters

Hello friends,

We hope you and your loved ones are all healthy, happy, and enjoying the holiday season. We are thrilled to update you on Momentum. It’s been an incredibly successful year, and we are excited for what’s next. Without your support, we could not have accomplished any of this and we are so grateful. We hope you will consider renewing your support with a year-end gift to allow us to sustain and expand our program empowering youth through golf and education.

As a reminder, Momentum’s mission is to use the power of golf and education to help children reach their fullest potential. We are a nimble, collaborative group, and we feel very fortunate to be doing this important work. This year has been a great testament of our ability to deliver impactful programming that introduces young people to the game of golf and provides resources, networks and experiences that will help enrich society with a more diverse group of future leaders.

A Family Vibe in the Quaker Ridge Kitchen

By Ellis Renwick-Archibold

Ellis Renwick-Archibold

This Fellowship has been a great experience. I can confidently say that I learned several lessons in ways that I didn’t expect. 

One of the most important lessons was patience. In the kitchen you always have something to do and everything is always moving. Despite the frenzied environment, you’ve got to be patient with what you’re doing and not always rush. 

What We’ve Learned at the Tennis Shop

The clay tennis courts at Quaker Ridge need to be watered regularly to keep them in top condition.
sprinkler on clay tennis courts at Quaker Ridge
The clay tennis courts at Quaker Ridge need to be watered regularly to keep them in top condition.

By Shana Belfast and Luis Gonzalez

Shana Belfast

Shana Belfast

I work in the tennis department at Quaker Ridge, and the best part of this job so far has been the people. Everyone is very friendly, open, and welcoming. The positive energy that the tennis coaches bring every morning makes me excited to go to my internship.

I enjoyed getting to know all of the coaches. For example, Coach Raissa is currently majoring in psychology in college, which is my future major. She is a really great and fun person, and she even showed me some of the classes she was currently taking on the first day of my internship.

What We’ve Learned at the Golf Shop

By Denver Matthews and Darrin Greaves II

Denver Matthews and Darrin Greaves
Denver Matthews, left, and Darrin Greaves.
Quaker Ridge golf shop
The golf shop at Quaker Ridge.

When we started our fellowship in the golf shop at Quaker Ridge, we thought our main job would be selling golf apparel and providing members all of their golf necessities. But as the weeks have rolled by, we have learned there is much more to it than that.

“Our job is to provide a great start to every member’s day and provide them with the best golf experience Quaker Ridge has to offer,” said Mario Guerra, the club’s head golf professional.

A day in the golf shop consists of much more than working the cash register.

A Day on the Maintenance Crew at Quaker Ridge

By Alexander Ciriaco

Alexander Ciriaco

I applied to this program because I wanted to improve my golf and tennis skills while feeding my desire to study bioengineering.

This is my first job, and it is the best job! I work with the golf course maintenance team, and it is my responsibility to help keep the course looking its best. What better way to learn the game of golf than by learning how to care for and appreciate the land?

Week One, Done

By Brittney Benjamin and Ellis Renwick-Archibold

“So what were you expecting when you first stepped in the kitchen, to learn how to chop veggies or to learn how to speak Spanish?”

Eduardo, one of our kitchen coworkers, posed this question last week with a laugh.

Brittney, who will be a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, is learning what it takes to be a chef this summer. Photograph by Ellis Renwick-Archibold

Truthfully, we were expecting our lessons from this internship to be mostly culinary-based, so we were surprised to receive so many life lessons in our first week, especially the Spanish lessons.

A typical workday in the kitchen starts with changing into uniform: a chef’s coat, pants, an apron, all completed with a hat. We greet everyone with “good morning” and “buenos dias” and get ready for our first assignment.

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.”