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Parker, Jax PE Teacher, Named USTA Florida May Tennis Volunteer of the Month

May 22, 2012 03:05 PM
charlieparkerjr-edited-webJacksonville elementary school physical education teacher Charlie Parker's memories of junior tennis include father-son events, trips with other youth to weekend tournaments, and group tennis drills and games that ended with exhausted smiles and laughter.

Now with a son and daughter, Parker is introducing his own children to the game through 10 and Under Tennis, as well as his physical education students, and the tots he oversees as volunteer director of 10 and Under Tennis at Boone Park, a City of Jacksonville facility, on the city's west side.

"It's particularly rewarding to volunteer in the 10 and Under Tennis program," Parker says, "because the majority of the young players have little to no prior tennis involvement. The real progress they often make in a short period can be exciting to experience. I specifically enjoy volunteering in 10 and Under Tennis because I agree strongly with the philosophy of making learning 'fun' to keep more children interested in the game so many of us love."

Parker is particularly knowledgeable about tennis and development via his physical education background and knowledge of small-child development, complemented by his background as a junior competitive player. He says he longs to continue to pass on the love he felt for tennis as a youngster to develop the "sport of a lifetime" in his current crop of kids.

"I remember watching my dad play tennis on the red clay public courts at Bayview in Pensacola, Florida, and wanting desperately to play," Parker says. "Now I hear the joyful anticipation from my children as they ask once again if it is tennis day yet."

charlie_parker_with_kidsAt Boone Park, Parker assists programs run by the Jax Youth Tennis Association (JYTA), which partners with the City of Jacksonville (JaxParks) for 10 and Under Tennis and USTA Jr. Team Tennis leagues. The JYTA was founded by Celia Rehm, who recruited Parker when the program started.

"Charlie has contributed in so many ways as a volunteer to our 10 and Under Tennis program at Boone Park since the onset of the program in 2010," Rehm says. "His service to our organization, to JaxParks, and his commitment to the 10 and Under Tennis program at Boone Park has been outstanding. We have run the program for three seasons, and each season he has generously given of his time and skill as the lead instructor for the 8-and-under groups coming out twice a week for seven weeks each season. The children love him and I have received nothing but praise from parents and the Boone staff on the job that he does."

Parker has also gone out of his way to secure 10 and Under Tennis school equipment through USTA Florida grants, including child-sized racquets, lower-bouncing balls and smaller nets and court sizes, for use in his elementary classes.

USTA Florida congratulates Charlie Parker as the May 2012 Volunteer of the Month for his service to elementary school and public parks tennis youth.


Birthplace: Huntsville, Ala.
Family Members: Wife, daughter, son, parents
Favorite Movie: Inception, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Shawshank Redemption...impossible to pick just one
Favorite Food: Plate of salmon, fresh steamed veggies, and homemade wheat bread or sweet potato
Favorite Travel: Sky Lake, Ga.
Favorite Shot: Stepping in, return of serve down-the-line against serve and vollyer

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."My grandfather that I never met (died before I was born) and my grandchildren I have not yet.

When I am not playing tennis I am..."Enjoying my two kids and their unending energy and enthusiasm; tackling home improvement projects while also searching for a new house; participating in running events with my wife; biking with the kids to grandparents' house and spending time with other family and friends; catching up on TV shows or movies through Hulu or Netflix with wife after kids are asleep, since we never have time during the day; and, of course, working full time as a PE teacher.

Best-ever tennis memory..."Playing for over 30 years it's hard to pick just one -- winning a silly 'no more' tennis drill as a young kid in which the winner was the person who lasted longest and hit the most balls until exhausted, saying 'no more.'"






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