SILVIS — Three miles of metal fencing are needed for the John Deere Classic golf tournament, and at-risk youth from Arrowhead Ranch have spent the past week putting it together.
The fence consists of interlocking sections of vertical bars, each weighing about 40 pounds. Assembling the pieces takes a team of 10 to 20 people working seven hours a days for close to a week in summer temperatures.
The fence designates areas for parking, spectating and golfing, but also keeps people away from hazards. Pat Huys, chairman of the tournament grounds committee, said the fencing keeps people going in the right direction.
The PGA requires the fencing in order to certify the John Deere Classic. Without the fence there is no tournament.
Arrowhead youths also painted lines and helped out where needed.
Mr. Huys and his team labors for hours to ensure the grounds are ready for the tournament by July 8. Without the Arrowhead teens' help, he said his team would have to assemble the fence, and most committee members are in their mid-50s, so are grateful for the young people helping.
"Their contribution is very valuable to the tournament," Mr. Huys said, adding that it's a win-win situation, because while the teens help out, they are developing ties to their community.
Russ Williams, Arrowhead principal, said these community ties help the young people develop into contributing members of society and helps those on probation meet their service hours.
Brandon Terronez, development director at Arrowhead, agreed. He said Arrowhead kids look forward to helping with the tournament every year and it's an opportunity that has to be earned, usually by those further along in the program.
Mr. Terronez said Arrowhead residents have to follow guidelines such as not using their last names, and can't leave the facility except at certain times. He said they look forward to leaving the ranch for community service trips.
Dakota, a 17-year-old Arrowhead resident, said after she helped with the tournament she realized volunteering was not as bad as she had thought it would be.
Jeremy, 16, agreed. They said it helped them feel connected to society.
"Now that I've been here, I see how people need the help and respect us for it," Jeremy said.
The teens said the work is tough initially, but got easier as it became more familiar. In the beginning, they said their hands got pinched in the interlocking pieces.
"I think everyone has done it at least once," Mr. Terronez said. "Until they learn their lesson."
He said the teens are offered gloves but usually refuse because of the heat. This year, he said the temperature was a bit cooler and they usually had a steady breeze.
Dakota said she enjoyed the work and chance to talk and work with fellow residents. She said she liked meeting new people and telling them about her opportunities at Arrowhead.
For her, helping people is a coping skill. "By bringing someone else up, I bring myself up," she said.
Mr. Terronez said the type of community services done through Arrowhead help residents open their eyes to different ways they can help people.
Jeremy and Dakota said they will continue to help in their communities after they leave Arrowhead.
Dakota said she would like to volunteer at an animal shelter or work with children. She also said she wants to help people outside of programs by doing things such as offering to mow her neighbor's lawn or help with groceries.
Jeremy said he would like to help cook and serve at a homeless shelter and would like to tutor people on anger management since he had to learn to control his own at Arrowhead.
Mr. Huys said he looks forward to working with Arrowhead residents. He said the tournament makes contributions to the ranch and is glad to help with their nonprofit work.
He said the teens who helped at the tournament will get a chance to watch it and some of the golfers have visited Arrowhead after the tournament is over.
That helps residents see the results of their work and how hard work pays off, Mr. Terronez and Mr. Williams said.
Mr. Huys said many people don't understand that the residents look forward to helping the tournament.
"This isn't a punishment for those kids," he said. "It's a reward to the ones who come, and must be earned by those who've proven to be responsible."