Our first summer camp seemed a logical and natural next step toward growing our tennis community following the success of our Elkins Park After School Program and considering the recent closure of our local tennis facility. On June 27, 2017, and with 26 campers our 7-week camp began at Cheltenham High School. With the assistance of a grant from the USTA, we could offer our community kids, age 10-17, with an affordable and fun way to spend their summer learning and playing tennis, while incorporating academics into the camp with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It was important to our committee that our coaches be from the Cheltenham community as well, and we were delighted to have four graduates from the CHS varsity tennis team guide and offer instruction.
At the start of camp, 90% of campers had never held a racket and, by the end of camp, every child was playing tennis. During the camp, there were a variety of activities in addition to the tennis drills, matches, instruction, and court time. Over the course of camp, our campers were provided with pizza Fridays, ice cream breaks, indoor activities, travel matches against other tennis camps and daily instruction/drills.
The campers had their first “up close and personal” experience with professional tennis on a trip to St. Joseph’s University for a Philadelphia Freedoms match, where they were able to watch play at a level most had never seen. If that wasn’t enough of a highlight of their summer, they also were invited to meet tennis legend and Freedoms owner Billie Jean King during a press conference and a luncheon that followed the conference. Ms. King took time to spend with the kids and shared her lessons she has learned over the years.
We thank our Cheltenham parent volunteers/drivers for helping us to make this trip a possibility.