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DeMille Leads Amelia Jr. Resurgence -- Oct. 2010 USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month

October 26, 2010 04:34 PM
Susie-DeMille-webAfter the town's major tennis center closed, Amelia Island residents banded together to raise funding for the Kraft Tennis Center and offer children a place to play. The only roadblock was finding a tennis director for the children's program -- until in stepped Susie DeMille.

DeMille helped rally local volunteers, and worked with USTA Florida to secure funding from a new 'Share the Love' grant initiative supporting, among other tennis ventures, QuickStart Tennis for 10-and-under children.

"We were awarded the highest grant amount [at the time] in the state of Florida by USTA Florida for their 'Share the Love' campaign to introduce kids ages 5-10 years old to the, as we like to say, 'FUN'-damentals of tennis," DeMille said. "We held a Quickstart Tennis Jamboree to kickoff a nine-week Quickstart Summer Tennis Camp from June to August on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the cost of $25.00 per child, or $2.78 a week."

The low cost and high fun factor attracted 93 children to the inaugural program, with 10 children from the local Boys & Girls Club receiving 'scholarships' to attend.

"The success of this program was largely due to the number of volunteers who were members of Kraft Tennis Partners who donated their time, shared their own experiences and love of game," said DeMille of the volunteers, who on some days seemingly threatened to number the same as the participants -- parents, grandparents, and local tennis enthusiasts giving of their time. "The hope is to continue to support the kids in our community to grow with and share their love of the game of tennis. We recently signed up to be coaches for a USTA Jr. Team Tennis league on Amelia Island for these kids, who many have never had the opportunity to play tennis."

DeMille says the volunteers of the Kraft Tennis Partners have made no money off their ventures, nor do they look to, but simply want to provide an ongoing legacy of tennis in the community.

"We had nothing, we didn't have that young membership here," DeMille said. "QuickStart is what brought them in and its been fantastic."

USTA Florida honors Susie DeMille's fantastic job of growing junior tennis in the Amelia Island area and her volunteer effort as the October 2010 USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month.

ABOUT SUSIE

Birthplace:
Chicopee, Mass.
Family Members: husband Joseph Sr.; sons Joseph Jr. (9) and Jack (2-1/2)
Favorite Movie: Happy Gilmore/Adam Sadler Fan
Favorite Food: tofu/Pad Thai
Favorite Travel: Hawaii
Favorite Stroke/Shot: two-handed backhand

My earliest tennis memory was..."won my first tennis tournament in Virginia Beach, the Neptune Tennis Tournament at Owl Creek Tennis Center."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."my family."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."running."

Best-ever tennis memory? "Yearly center court box seats at the Bausch & Lomb tennis tournament on Amelia Island with my mom."

I like to volunteer in tennis because..."I love the game and hope to instill that love with kids of all ages."

 
 

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