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SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2007
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Children develop skills, have fun at tennis camp

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com · 340-2441

Sitting on the tennis court, children yell out the names of their favorite players — Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharipova. Someday children on this same court may yell out the names of Ben Stoner, Ginny Light and Jackson Coffey.

These children, along with 20 others, are participating in the second annual tennis camp at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center. The campers are on the tennis courts behind T.C. Almon Recreation Center, hoping to improve their forehands, backhands and serves.

In an era when fast-food restaurants offer nutritional options and exercise is on the rise, Tommy Wade is providing an additional and fun way for children to stay healthy. Wade, the city’s tennis director and organizer of the camp, said he started the camp “to get kids off the couch.” Plus it provides them with an avenue to learn a sport, he said.

The healthy option of tennis camp, however, is in stiff competition against the typical summer activities of watching television and playing video games. According the campers, Wade is succeeding in his battle against television.

Light, 11, said, her favorite part of camp is getting a workout.

All of the children agreed that they loved attending camp but none of them agreed with Light about working out. Actually, none of the campers agreed with each other.

Ben Stoner, 10, said he enjoys “learning more about tennis.” Emme Slaton, 10, likes hitting forehands. And for Coffey, 5, running through the sprinklers is his favorite part.

The campers aren’t the only ones on the court having fun. The instructors, all current or past members of the Decatur High School girls tennis team, are enjoying themselves.

One of the instructors, Mary Virginia Sherrill, said she volunteers her time because the children “are having fun and seem to really enjoy playing tennis.”

Sarah Suggs, speaking for all of the instructors, said, “We all have a love for the sport and want to share it ... more people should come out and play.”

With the addition of the bubble (an inflated dome) and the construction of new courts, more people are playing tennis.

More children signed up for camp this year, more people are attending tournaments ... tennis in Decatur is just unbelievable,” Wade said.

So, lace your sneakers, grab your racket and head to Point Mallard to pick up more tips for your tennis game or to just run through the sprinklers.

Take the advice of more than 20 children who answered with a resounding “Yes,” when asked if they would recommend the camp to others.

Tennis camp

Two more weeklong tennis camps are scheduled at the Point Mallard courts for June 11-15 and June 18-22. Spots are open for both weeks and anyone interested should call 341-4948.

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