The day Stephen Hoefer spotted an article about a kids’ golf tournament in the Dallas Morning News at the age of seven, he was sold. And when he found out that a seven-year-old playing golf could also raise money for kids at for the patients at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, one of the nation’s leading pediatric centers for the treatment of orthopedic conditions, it changed the course of his life. Stephen not only participated in the Scottish Rite KidSwing event that year, but for every year until he turned 18, the very last year he was eligible to play. His mom, Bursley, was inspired by her son’s excitement for the event and began volunteering each year as well. Bursley served as a member of the KidSwing committee and also as event chair for several years. She is now serving on the Executive Committee for Kidswing.
The Scottish Rite annual KidSwing event allows kids with a wide range of golf experience to play nine holes while helping Scottish Rite patients. Any patient who wishes to play, no matter their ability level, is given the tools and training to play and enjoy the event. There are many patients who also participate and the hospital helps give them the tools and training to play and enjoy the event. Bursley shared about a young girl named Charlsie who was born without a hand has been taught a new way to hold her golf club. Charlsie now looks forward to KidSwing each year!
Kids who wish to play golf for the event are also given the opportunity to fundraise. Each child is encouraged to raise $100 by talking to family and friends about how they are participating in the event. Over 15 years the event has raised almost two million dollars for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. “I love participating in KidSwing, and all the other family events at Scottish Rite. We are teaching kids at a young age that you can help other kids,” Bursley shared. Her passion for the patients and families at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas has grown far beyond the annual golf event. She helped launch the Cookies and Castles holiday event, where families from around Dallas come to the hospital the week before Christmas and decorate gingerbread cookies and houses. Even more than the fundraising element, Bursley values kids and families getting to know the hospital and spending time with patients. For that reason, Burlsey will be found passing out snow cones and making people feel welcome at next week’s Dallas KidSwing Dallas. There are three tournaments this summer: KidSwing Dallas on June 19; KidSwing Trophy Club on July 10 and KidSwing Frisco on July 17.
Stephen is now 22 and recently graduated from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Over the years, golf continued to play a large part in his life, and by his senior year, Stephen was captain of his college golf team. This year Stephen will return to KidSwing as a chaperone, passing on his love for golf and giving back.