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Miami Summer Tennis Camps Beat the Heat

July 18, 2007 02:30 PM

400 Kids Learn Tennis for FREE

Forget the sweet treat that comes in the form of an ice cold, flavorful and messy dessert, often eaten by hungry children during the hot days of summer.  The city of Miami-Dade has something even better for kids: a sweet treat that is fun, social and best of all – FREE!  Although thoughts of delicious ice cream may be swirling in your brain, summer tennis camps are what we are talking about.  In fact, FREE summer tennis camps.

Thanks to a $2000 grant from USTA Florida’s Diversity Outreach Program that paid for 200 kids, ages 6-15, to participate in the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana summer camp program, tennis courts are full every Tuesday and Thursday for four hours at Shenandoah Park in Miami.  The grant was given to Friends of Miami Tennis, the local Community Tennis Association (CTA), to cover the costs specifically for the Kiwanis summer camp program, such as equipment and court fees.  This is the second year USTA Florida has partnered with the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana to bring tennis to children during the summer months.

“Getting tennis as part of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana summer camp program is very important to USTA Florida,” said Shelly Licorish, USTA Florida West Region 4 community coordinator and diversity staff liaison.  “They reach the largest diverse segment in Miami when it comes to Hispanics.” 

The kids have responded positively to the summer camp program at the park and Kiwanis appreciates the organized program the CTA has set up for the children.

“We hope our involvement takes us into a longer partnership with the organization through their after-school programs,” added Licorish.

On-site instructors include Susan Ricke, USTA Florida mentor, and Liz Perlman; both are part of Friends of Miami Tennis.  Additional teen community volunteers are Blake Simonsohn, 14, Chloe Ricke, 17, and Dylan Ricke, 14; they help make sure the program and games run smoothly. 

“I believe that having teen volunteers working with the USTA in their community will build our future adult volunteer base,” said Ricke.  “What better way to promote the growth of tennis!”

The second summer camp free to children is the Police Athletic League (PAL), organized by the Miami-Dade Police Department.  PAL is a recreation oriented juvenile crime prevention program that relies heavily on athletics and recreational activities to tighten the bond between police officers and kids in the community.  It is based on the belief that children, if reached early enough, can not only develop a strong, positive, attitude towards police officers which may deter them away from crime, but they can participate in a safe, competitive and fun recreational program that instills positive values and encouraging attitudes about life.

PAL uses athletic and recreational programs as a tool; a way to involve children and keep them away from wrongdoing.  The tennis camp, also instructed by Susan Ricke, Liz Perlman and the teen volunteers, takes place every Wednesday, from 9a.m. – 12p.m. at Mays Middle School.

Both camps have embraced tennis and integrated the sport into their programs, which has directly benefited about 400 children in Miami-Dade county.  Summer camps are a special time for children to learn new things, including sports, in a friendly environment.

“This is our third year working with PAL and the third year tennis has been a part of their league,” said Cathy Nordlund, USTA Florida South Region 8 community coordinator.  “We see some of the same kids improving each year, and are thrilled that tennis continues to be a part of their life.” 

  • Pictures from Kiwanis Club of Little Havana summer camp program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Pictures from PAL

 

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