May 3rd, 2016

Tennis Blog: Another Year of Successful Community Events at the Tallahassee Challenger

Courtside USTA Florida Foundation USTA Pro Circuit Festivals

schools1The Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, in its 28th year, held community events for youth of all ages throughout the week of April 25-29, 2016. With the help of countless volunteers, more than 800 kids from Boys Town North Florida, City Community Centers, Grace Mission, Leon County Schools, and Special Olympics participated in one of five events held during the week.

USTA National Manager Anne Davis coordinated a two-day 10 and Under Tennis event along with the help of many volunteers. More than 500 kids representing Ruediger, Gilchrist, W.T. Moore, and Bucklake elementary schools participated in this event. Each school was given free tennis equipment from the USTA to provide 10 and Under Tennis programs at their respective schools.

The “Tennis Extravaganza” event was organized by the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs and held midweek for some of its after-school programs held at area community centers — Fourth Avenue, Jake Gaither, Jack McLean, and Walker Ford.

More than 125 kids were treated by volunteers to skills and games followed by a pizza party. This event marks the fifth time it has been sponsored by the city during the challenger tournament.

The “Special Olympics Tennis Carnival” proved once again to be a huge success with more than 175 kids from local area middle and high schools, as well as the Gretchen Everhart School. More than 50 volunteers, teachers, and teaching aides assisted Special Olympics players on court with fun tennis activities and skills.

All participants and volunteers received a commemorative t-shirt donated by the USTA Florida Foundation and were treated to a pizza lunch on centre court. A special thanks to Nancy Horowitz, USTA Florida president, Linda Curtis and Mary Harowski of the USTA Florida Foundation, and George English of USTA Florida for helping with the event. This event could not even be possible without the dedication and support of Melba Jacobs of Leon County Schools who works tirelessly to see that these special children are transported from all over the city.

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 thanks once again to Karen Vogter, tournament director, who helps to secure sponsorships and who recruits volunteers for the events.

Sponsors this year included the USTA Florida Section, USTA Pro Circuit, USTA Florida Foundation, Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, Friend of our Parks, and Tallahassee Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs.