For the past four weeks (July 18 - August 12, 2011), a Pottstown community summer youth tennis camp program spent its third year at The Hill School. A group of 62 third, fourth, and fifth graders from the Pottstown District participated in a free four-week tennis camp at The Hill. Students were selected by the tennis program directors based on good academic performance and gym participation in school throughout the 2010-11 academic year. The program is organized by the Tennis Farm
, a Berwyn, Pa. nonprofit 501 (c) (3) sports education organization that works to share the sport of tennis with youths.
In keeping with the Tennis Farm’s motto, “Kids ON court—not IN court,” the nonprofit seeks to sponsor deserving, motivated students from at risk or lower socio-economic backgrounds. The camp has been made possible in part by a grant from the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation; the grant helps provide a skilled staff including many of the district’s own physical education teachers who bring the camp experience, extensive knowledge, and their passion for implementing health programs.
The Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation and the Tennis Farm’s shared goal “is to provide a constructive, healthy activity, and to help combat the ongoing childhood obesity issues faced in our country,” said Tom Ringe, founder of the Tennis Farm. Furthermore, Ringe hopes the Pottstown campers will embrace tennis as a “lifetime sport” and enjoy the activity for years to come. To ensure these lessons of health and fitness are taught to campers, the staff will be administering surveys on a weekly basis to determine basic tennis skills and fitness progress, and “to monitor the participants’ overall progress and help guide instruction,” Ringe said.
Additionally, The Hill School supports the program by donating court time on the School’s facilities for the camp’s use, as well as Gatorade containers filled with fluids to keep campers hydrated. This is the third summer session in which The Hill, The Tennis Farm, Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation, and the Pottstown School District have collaborated to offer this camp for neighborhood children.
This year, 36 new third, fourth, and fifth graders from Pottstown School District elementary schools attended the camp. In addition, 14 campers returned for their second year, and 12 campers returned for their third year, including some sixth and seventh graders. To accommodate these returnees, a new intermediate course was implemented this year.
During the first two weeks of the camp, students learned and refreshed basic tennis skills as well as participated in fitness-building activities on a daily basis while learning about scoring and strategy. During the final week, students were divided into teams for tournaments similar to high school matches, and the champions were awarded medals.