Gusty conditions couldn’t stop kids of all ages playing tennis in red ball, orange ball, green ball and yellow balls groups at the 2016 Delray Beach Open Kidz Day event, held Monday, Feb. 15 on courts adjacent to the stadium at the ATP World Tour event.
“It’s awesome, we had around 150 kids and then we had a lot of walk-ins,” said Janet Sprague, director of the East Coast Tennis Foundation which organized the Kidz Day event. “We had kids registered for the matches and the activities, and then we had all these families that came and wanted to get involved so we rotated them in on the courts.”
Kids and parents also took part in face painting, arts and crafts and free play on the outer courts afterwards.
The Univision television network was also on hand, interviewing Spanish-speaking players and families for a feature on the Kidz Day event.
“This year’s Kidz Day was also a great opportunity for Hispanic families to share their stories and love for the sport with Univision,” said USTA Florida Diversity & Marketing Coordinator Maria Romo-Jackson.
The event was organized by the East Coast Tennis Foundation, Inc., a USTA Community Tennis Association (CTA) and a member of the USTA National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network with a mission to provide opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged populations.
“When we first started it was difficult to find kids that could afford to play,” Sprague said. “So we try to provide opportunities for the socio-economically disadvantaged to play. We do summer camps, we do after-school tutoring, and we have the kids playing in our Junior Team Tennis program. If they can’t afford to play, that’s OK — nobody knows who doesn’t pay, we just have fun and make it work.”