May 7th, 2015

Tallahassee Tennis Blog: Community Events at Challenger Serve Kids, Special Olympics

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The Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, celebrating its 27th year, hosted community events for kids throughout the week of April 27-May 1, 2015. These events included kids representing Boys Town, City Community Centers (Fourth Avenue, Jake Gaither, Jack McLean, Walker Ford), Grace Mission, four elementary schools (WT Moore, Maclay, Conley, and Roberts), and Special Olympics.

There were well over 783 kids who attended one of the five community events with the help of over 200 volunteers consisting of local tennis enthusiasts, teachers, USTA staff, City Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs’ staff, players from both the FAMU and Florida State University men’s tennis team, and local tennis professionals.

Anne Davis, USTA national trainer, coordinated the two-day “10 and under Tennis” event along with Sandy Layne, a 10 & Under Tennis provider. There were more than 400 elementary school children who attended this event. All participating schools receive free tennis equipment from the USTA in order to provide 10 and under tennis programs at their respective schools.

The tournament’s largest single day event, the “Special Olympics Tennis Carnival,” proved once again to be a huge success with more than 230 kids from local area middle and high schools and more than 50 volunteers. Special olympians were treated to tennis games and clinics followed by a pizza lunch on centre court. All participants received a commemorative T-shirt donated by the USTA Florida Foundation which has been the biggest sponsor of this event for many years.

Without the support of sponsors and the many volunteers who donate their time and energy each and every year, it would be impossible for the participants of these events to come away with such a positive experience. A special thank you to Karen Vogter, tournament director, who helps to secure sponsorships and recruit volunteers each and every year. Event sponsors included the USTA Florida Section, USTA Pro Circuit, USTA Florida Foundation, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Friend of our Parks, and Tallahassee Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs.