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City Hall Parking Lot Turned Into 10 and Under Tennis Courts in Madison, Fla.

November 21, 2012 07:50 AM
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The City of Madison, Fla., held their first 10 and Under Tennis clinic in the parking lot of the city hall on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, transforming the lot into four 10 and Under Tennis courts bustling with children.
 
The clinic was organized by Madison City Commissioner Ina Thompson, working alongside Madison's City Manager, Tim Bennett, and city staff including Charlie Jackson, Doug Brown the newly-elected superintendent of schools, and tennis teaching pro Tom Moore from the neighboring town of White Springs.
 
"Tom has had his [10 and Under Tennis] program going there for about three years," Thompson said. "The reason for this [parking lot] location was because Madison does not have any public tennis courts in or around town. With help from George English, Panhandle tennis program coordinator and Linda Curtis from USTA Florida, the City of Madison applied for the USTA Florida 'Share the Love' grant and received tennis equipment for clinics."
 
English has thus far introduced 10 and Under Tennis to three area schools, with more in development. The City of Madison earlier this year hosted a 10 and Under Tennis Workshop, which attracted 26 adult coaches, P.E. teachers and others looking for additional expertise in working with the 10-and-under age group, utilizing the 10 and Under Tennis format. USTA 10 and Under Tennis features kid-sized racquets, nets, low-compression balls and smaller court sizes.
 
"USTA Florida brought in a USTA national trainer to work with the over 26 adults at the workshop," Thompson said. "Some of the attendees at the workshop were some of the teachers that later put in for the grants for their schools."
 
Over the last two years the USTA Florida 'Share the Love' grant program has returned approximately $600,000 in grants, supported by the membership dollars of USTA Florida members, back into the tennis community to support organizations and programs such as 55-over tennis, after-school programs, 10 and Under Tennis, and church, YMCA, and police athletic league programs.
 
Thompson says she hopes the Madison event is the start of expanded tennis offerings for children and adults in the area to combat negative health statistics.
 
"The City of Madison does not have a recreation coordinator position or have money in the city budget to add this position, or build courts at this time, or in the near future," Thompson said. "So for now the tennis program is a community project, but we are hoping as the interest grows we will see courts being built in Madison. This will encourage our youth, juniors, adults and seniors to learn and enjoy the ageless sport of tennis. At this time there are no organized activities for our youth, no after-school or summer exercise or sport programs designed for our kids. Madison is on the map for being No. 1 in diabetes and heart attacks and stokes in the state of Florida, that's not something we are proud of."
 
In the meantime Thompson says she will continue to work to give area youth physical outlets through tennis.
 
"Our goal now is to have clinics, and start working with some of the children who would love to have a Jr. Team Tennis league, but that is hard to do without courts," she says. "We will start trying to locate grants, ask for donations and just try to spread the word of the need we have here to help our youth. The city will be setting up a recreation account, and all funds will be used not only for the tennis program, but to improve our overall sport projects at a park we already have in town."
 
For more information on tennis in the City of Madison contact Ina Thompson at ijtcom2@gmail.com.
 
 
 
 
 

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