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May VOM: Tennis Alive founder and president Barbara Wong

May 1, 2006 09:35 AM

Senior Tennis of Volusia is a USTA Florida community tennis association (CTA) with a mission to improve fitness of mind and body through the game of tennis.  In 2003, CTA founder and president Barbara Wong of Melbourne created the Tennis Alive program, aimed at men and women of all skill levels aged 55 and older.

When Barbara moved to the Heritage Isle community in Viera in 2004, she brought Tennis Alive with her.  The program has expanded throughout the community; there is a wonderful collaboration and partnership between the local Parks and Recreation Department, residential Homeowner’s Association and the local senior community groups and businesses.

Barbara has been playing tennis in Florida since she moved from New Jersey 15 years ago.  She began playing at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation where she participated for almost five years in club leagues and USTA leagues and tournaments.

She has served as captain for several USTA adult and senior league teams, and she was ranked No.1 in the NTRP 4.0 singles in 1995-1996.  Barbara now serves on the USTA Florida Diversity Committee.

In 2000, when Barbara moved to Ormond Beach, her passion for tennis continued to grow.  Barbara quickly seized the opportunity to bring organized tennis to the local 55 communities.  For easier access to this audience, Barbara moved into the Port Orange Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club, a 55 community.

In Crane Lakes, the Tennis Alive program commenced.  Barbara targeted seniors who wanted to play tennis and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.  Within six months, Barbara developed the Volusia County CTA and there were nearly 80 people signed up and playing tennis regularly!

When Barbara moved to Brevard County in 2005, she chose to live in another 55 community, Heritage Isle in Melbourne.  When she introduced her Tennis Alive program to the community club management, they supported her in hosting a USTA Welcome Back to Tennis event during the opening of the clubhouse facility in April 2006.

“The event drew 54 participants of which 44 signed up for the follow-on program,” Barbara said.  “Currently there are 52 residents participating in the coaching clinics and on-court practices along with three volunteers.”

Given the overall objective of growing tennis, Barbara has also targeted several other communities in Brevard County for her Tennis Alive program.

“Aside from the love of the game and being passionate about tennis, volunteering in tennis provides an opportunity for me to give back to tennis what tennis gave to me,” Barbara said.

When her husband passed away in 1997, Barbara was left with no family in Florida. 

“It was my tennis friends and team members who were there for me in a time of need,” she said.  “They literally became part of my family.  Being on the court is therapeutic.  Tennis has helped me overcome the grief from the loss of a loved one and build long and lasting friendships.”

Thank you for your persistence and enthusiasm in the creation of the Tennis Alive program, Barbara.  You have most certainly made a positive, lasting impact on many seniors throughout Florida.

 

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