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Florida Tennis Briefs(3): Eatonville Native Named VOM; 10-U Orlando Events

August 31, 2012 10:56 AM
Eatonville's McCall-Waters Named USTA Florida August Volunteer of the Month

Tina-Waters-Edited-SmallGrassroots junior tennis for all ethnicities and socio-economic groups has long had a strong base in the Orlando area. This is in no small part due to teaching pros like Tina McCall-Waters, who continually strive to expand the reach of the "Sport of a Lifetime" to area schools and kids' clubs.

A 10-year veteran of tennis instruction, McCall-Waters also recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of founding the Denton Johnson Tennis Corporation in Eatonville, Fla., a suburb just north of Orlando known as one of the first all-African-American communities in Florida.

"In 2002 I started teaching youth the game of tennis, I wanted to give back to this community what I'd received, an opportunity to learn the game of tennis free," McCall-Waters said. "I didn't stick with just 10 and under because many of the kids in Eatonville were 12 years old with nothing to do.  

"I'd learned the game for free from Mr. Denton Johnson, then traveled the U.S. playing tennis, meeting people from all walks of life and receiving a B.S. degree on a tennis scholarship from Indiana University." 

Through the Denton Johnson Tennis Corporation she eventually partnered with the Central Florida Boys & Girls Club, establishing what has now grown into four sites and six elementary schools offering the 10 and Under Tennis format in Central Florida.

"Eatonville had a Boys and Girls Club with many kids that had never played tennis," McCall-Waters said. "I was in the beginning of developing the Denton Johnson Tennis Corporation, and these kids would be the among the first group of kids I would teach. I offered tennis lessons to the kids in this club free, and we traveled to play in USTA's Rally League for competition, along with a tennis clinic from the Rollins College women's tennis team and coach Bev Buckley."

From these relationships additional connections grew, and grants became available to further her work.

"I have worked with Austin Long, the director of the Joe R. Lee Boys & Girls Club in Eatonville for six years, teaching tennis in their summer programs," McCall-Waters said. "This year the club received the 21st Century grant, and that gave me the opportunity to work with two of their sites and the program director LaTina Nickelson. Because of that partnership I was introduced to Ericka Dickerson, director of Middle School Programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, and I was able to teach tennis to six middle school summer programs, and have been contacted to continue working with those six schools, as well as others in Orange County this year."

She says the main goal is to give children, via tennis, every opportunity to be successful in education and life. Her passionate support of community and education extends to her annual volunteering at the Zora Neal Hurston Festival in Eatonville, celebrating the author, scholar and African-American feminist folk hero.

"When I met Tina 10 years ago she was passionate about starting her program, and still has the same enthusiasm in bringing tennis to the children in Eatonville," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for Central Florida Shelly Licorish. "I can count on her to volunteer no mater what time or date."

USTA Florida congratulates Tina McCall-Waters as the August 2012 Volunteer of the Month for her selfless service to children in the Eatonville/Orlando area, and providing tennis as a gateway to further education and success in life.
 
ABOUT TINA

Birthplace:
Saratoga Springs, NY
Family Members: Timothy (son), and Tara (daughter)
Favorite Movie: Lion King
Favorite Food: Spaghetti
Favorite Travel: Jamaica
Favorite Shot: backhand

My earliest tennis memory was..."when I won my first tournament at the Orlando Tennis Center."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."Billie Jean King, Evonne Goolagong, and Martina Navratilova."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."relaxing watching an action movie."

My best-ever tennis memory is..."when the kids from Eatonville traveled to Ft. Myers playing in the red rally events and was voted by different coaches to win all the sportsmanship awards. Linda Curtis [USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis] took me to the side and advised me that my kids had won all of the sportsmanship awards from each coach, I was so proud of them for being the great sportsman they are."

I like to volunteer in tennis because..."you have an opportunity to meet people from everywhere."


Family 10 and Under Tennis at Oak Street Park in Kissimmee on Sept. 15
 
10andunderlogoFamilies can take to the court together to play 10 and Under Tennis on Sept. 15, 2012, during the 10 and Under Tennis Festival at Oak Street Park in Kissimmee, Fla.
 
The event is part of the United States Tennis Association-Florida Section's (USTA Florida) four-stop 'Me Gusta El Tenis' tour through Greater Orlando and Greater Miami-area cities in August-November, spotlighting the popularity of tennis in the Hispanic community. The event is in partnership with USTA Florida, MG Tennis and Kissimmee Park sand Recreation.
 
Participants registering for the event will also be entered into a drawing to win four tickets of their choice to either the 2013 Sony Open men's and women's pro tennis tournament on Key Biscayne, or the 2013 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships men's pro event in Delray Beach. To register for the event go to http://mgtennisfestival-eorg.eventbrite.com.
 
Tennis participation numbers in Florida for small children of all demographics have increased exponentially since the introduction of the 10 and Under Tennis format. 10 and Under Tennis is designed for children, featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.
 
"Through our continued partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Orlando, USTA Florida has continued to see growth in our youth programs as well as adult league play in Central Florida," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for Central Florida Shelly Licorish.
 
Additional events on the USTA Florida 'Me Gusta El Tenis' tour will be:
 
Sept. 22 - Hunters Creek Festival, Orlando
Oct. 20 -- Gables Hispanic Festival, Coral Gables
Nov. 11 -- Founders Day Festival, Aventura
 
For more information contact Shelly Licorish at licorish@florida.usta.com, or to register for the event go to http://mgtennisfestival-eorg.eventbrite.com.


Altamonte Springs to Host 10 and Under Tennis Festival at Westmonte Park

Nick-WWDOP-USTA-FLIn conjunction with the thousands of USTA Free Tennis Play Days being held across the country in celebration of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play, Westmonte Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla., will host a free 10 and Under Tennis Festival on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, from 1-3 p.m.

The event will utilize the USTA 10 and Under Tennis format, which allows smaller children to play tennis on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.

"For the last year and a half, Seminole County has hosted numerous festivals and introduced over 5,000 kids to 10 and Under Tennis," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for Central Florida Shelly Licorish.
 
During the festival parents and children can also sign-up for lessons or programming in the area.
 
Information will also be available for parents and players on local USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis leagues and other play opportunities. USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) brings kids together in teams to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams. It promotes social skills and important values by fostering cooperation and unity, as well as individual self-growth. It is designed for kids ages 5-18, and matches can be held anywhere from a local park or school to a commercial or private club. JTT teams are co-ed and divided by the play levels Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and utilize the 10 and Under Tennis format for the 10-under and 8-under leagues.
 
The event is an effort to get kids active and involved in tennis following National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. USTA Free Tennis Play Days provide kids and parents of all skill levels with the opportunity to experience tennis in a social and fun setting. The event is open to the public with an emphasis placed on family participation, effort and sportsmanship. 

Westmonte Park is located at 624 Bills Lane in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
 
For information on area 10 and Under Tennis opportunities, or the 10 and Under Play Day, contact USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Coordinator Sheryl Rivas at rivas@florida.usta.com.



 
 

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