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Tallahassee Challenger Hosts Record 600 Children, Donates 10-U Tennis Equipment

May 17, 2013 10:35 AM
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From back left: Tournament Director Karen Vogter, Bond Elementary School's Ms. Lewis, and USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator George English with Bond Elementary students and equipment donated to the school
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Local Tallahassee children from Bond, Gilchrist, Roberts and Springwood elementary schools -- numbering approximately 600 in all -- experienced the USTA 10 and Under Tennis format during the Pro Circuit's USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex in May thanks to over 135 volunteers from the community.
 
"We have volunteers from the tennis community, local tennis pros, the FAMU women's tennis team, the FSU Tennis Club, our local USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator George English, Sandy Layne who heads up 10 and Under Tennis in Tallahassee, and USTA National Trainer Anne Davis conducting events and training the volunteers prior to each session," said Tournament Director Karen Vogter. "We had mostly a 1/4 or 2/4 ratio of volunteers to children."
 
For most of the children it was the first time playing the 10 and Under Tennis format, which allows smaller children to emulate adult play on smaller court sizes with smaller racquets that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport.
 
"This is the most children we have ever had," Vogter said. "The kids stayed and watched the pro tennis matches, and several schools brought their lunches with them."
 
Staff and volunteers from the schools did not go home empty handed, as the Tallahassee Challenger donates the 10 and Under Tennis equipment purchased for the events to the four schools.
 
"They can use the equipment in their physical education tennis classes or to start a 10 and Under Tennis program or Kid's Tennis Club after school," Vogter said. "USTA Florida's George English will also talk to the schools about grants and information available to them from USTA Florida."
 
The Tallahassee Tennis Challenger also annually hosts, in partnership with USTA Florida, the Special Olympics Tennis Carnival, where approximately 300-400 special-needs children from local schools experience a morning of tennis, pizza and snacks, as well as appearances from ATP tournament players and more.
 
"USTA Florida loves partnering with the Tallahassee Challenger to bring elementary children to the tournament for a fun Kid's Day with instruction and watching pro tennis," said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth.
 
Proceeds from the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, an all volunteer-run professional tournament, benefit the Vogter Neuro-Intensive Care Unit at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. This unit cares for patients of all ages who suffer neurological trauma (such as head injuries, strokes), require surgical intervention for life threatening illnesses (brain tumors, aneurysms), and many other types of patients.
 
The D. Mark Vogter Memorial Endowment has received more than $500,000 from the Tallahassee Challenger over the last 14 years.
 
For more photos of information go to www.tallahasseechallenger.com.
 
 
 
 
 

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