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Lee County Hosts Welcome Back to Tennis

January 22, 2007 04:54 PM

By Susie Bessire

Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) and the Lee County Parks and Recreation Department hosted a Welcome Back to Tennis event at Rutenberg Community Park in Fort Myers, Fla. on Saturday, Jan. 13 from 9 a.m. to noon.  One hundred and seventeen seniors registered and paid $5 to attend the event hoping for an opportunity to meet others in the area so they could "get back into the game" and play at local park sites throughout Lee County.

Under the direction of Harriett Bohannan, LCCTA vice president, the Welcome Back to Tennis committee and 30 local volunteers created a fun atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.  The many hours of planning, organizing, decorating, training and selling sponsorships all came together to make this event a great day for welcoming players back to tennis.  Every attendee was treated to a beautiful breakfast and lunch donated and served by The Calusa Harbour Senior Living Facility.  Dinner was also donated for all volunteers on Friday evening during their Welcome Back Training session courtesy of "Flying Pig" Catering.

USTA National Trainer, Susan Allshouse, delivered the on-court portion training and oversaw the day's activities.  This included on-court stretching, warm-ups, and lots of fun tennis skills and games.  After lunch was "served-up", players told old stories about their favorite vintage racquets they used to play with in the past.  Players with the best old racquet stories received free Wilson racquet bags.

The most important part of this day was to bring the 50 age group back to tennis and to introduce new people how to play this great game.   The LCCTA took on this project in hopes of increasing tennis play and programs on the county park tennis courts.  Their mission was successful as 40 of those who attended signed-up for one of the follow-up programs being offered at the park facilities.  

Donn Davis, president-elect for USTA Florida, attended the event and was nice enough to help by fielding questions and giving out information on USTA membership and leagues.

“This was easily the best organized and most successful Welcome Back to Tennis event that I’ve ever attended!” he said.  “So many times, those of us that promote and develop tennis in Florida focus on getting kids involved in the game because they will be our future; we forget that, particularly here in Florida, there is a huge population of 50 folks that have played in the past and could gain huge health and recreational benefits from this great game.”

“This event wasn’t just a Home Run, it was a Grand Slam for Lee County!”

The USTA and USTA Florida supported this event by supplying materials, funds, the USTA National Trainer and staff support from community coordiantor Susie Bessire.  Wilson Racquet also sponsored the party by supplying prizes and demo racquets for each participant.  Every attendee went home with a goody bag filled with gifts donated by local businesses, Wilson and USTA Florida.

USTA Florida thanks everyone for their dedication to this affair and for promoting tennis in Lee County.  The event was well organized, fun and once again, it spread the message that anyone can play tennis if they try!







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