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Home   News   5 cool community tennis projects happening across Canada

5 cool community tennis projects happening across Canada

Nov 05, 2015
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada
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How can tennis make a community better? That’s the question being asked by Community Champions across the country as part of the Building Tennis Communities (BTC) Initiative. Meet five individuals below who are responsible for some seriously cool projects that promote healthy active living and community spirit through tennis.

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The Champion: Marianne Banman – Salt Spring, BC

Where it all started:

Marianne played tennis as a kid and began coaching as an adult, but it was volunteering at the 2010 Rogers Cup that really inspired her to become a better player.

BTC Journey:

Marianne’s community of Salt Spring desperately needed to upgrade their existing public tennis courts. Former Salt Spring Tennis Association President, Erica Ross, nominated Salt Spring for the $250,000 Kraft Project Play award. Members of the Tennis Association used this nomination to pull the community together. They had a community barbecue that TSN attended and voting parties were held where people got together and voted over and over again to try and win the money that would upgrade their courts.

In the end, Salt Spring was one of the finalists for Kraft Project Play, winning $25,000 to put toward the Portlock Park tennis courts. Plus, the efforts made by the community during this time have had a lasting effect – growing awareness and participation for tennis in Salt Spring!

Marianne’s Advice:

If you are trying to grow tennis in your community, create opportunities for the public to be a part of ‘Free Try’ events. Don’t be shy! Get out into the community and share the core values of tennis – teamwork, passion and integrity – by letting people just have some fun playing.

Fun facts:

  • Salt Spring boasts over a century of tennis being played on the island!
  • The first courts were made of crushed seashells.
  • There were 30 established tennis courts in this small area Pre-World War I.

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The Champion: Norm Rothsching – Granby, QC

Where it all started:

Norm Rothsching began playing tennis in University at McGill where he studied to become a Physical Education Teacher. In addition to teaching, Norm has been a part of Building Tennis Communities for 10 years.

BTC Journey:

Norm had been helping children in Montreal for years through the BTC program. After moving to Granby and having kids of his own, he used his prior experience to obtain a grant to implement three-quarter courts at the Granby Tennis Club and paint half courts at the school nearby. These changes have built awareness of progressive tennis among the community and have facilitated programs with the daycare and school. Kids as young as 3-4 years of age are able to get racquets in their hands and play with their parents on demo days at the daycare, and the half courts on the school playground mean after-school tennis programs are up and running!

Norm’s Advice:

There is help out there! Don’t try to do it all on your own. Reach out to your Provincial Tennis Association and contact Tennis Canada for BTC Training and support.

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The Champion: Ted Robertson – Sussex, NB

Where it all started:

Ted has loved tennis since he was a child, but his passion really flourished when he brought his own children to play with their friends at the facility in Sussex. Before Ted knew it, they were 20+ children looking to play tennis on a regular basis!

BTC Journey:

The Recreation Department of Sussex took notice and approached Ted to run tennis programs in their facility. Ted was adamant that if he was going to manage the town’s tennis program, they needed to resurface the courts and update the dilapidated facility. The department agreed and, with new courts, Ted set out to grow the tennis community. He contacted Tennis New Brunswick, which led him to Tennis Canada, where he applied to the BTC program in 2010. Ted has since incorporated the Sussex Tennis Association and successfully gained funding from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and partnered with schools, universities, Source for Sports, and Canadian Tire. Thanks to Ted’s efforts and the BTC Program, Sussex is now well-known as a tennis-friendly community!

Ted’s Advice:

Never stop recruiting! There are always more opportunities to get your tennis association or club name out there. Host the community with an Open House (free food helps!), let them see what you do and get kids playing together. Another tip from Ted is to target specific groups (e.g. Scouts and Girl Guides) to come and use the tennis facilities.

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The Champion: Kiyo Breiting – Coquitlam, BC

Where it all started:

Kiyo played tennis in high school, but she explains that life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a racquet again until her daughter left for university. Looking for something to fill her time, she sought out her local tennis club and started playing tennis and volunteering.

BTC Journey:

As an active volunteer, Kiyo’s involvement snowballed: She began running tournaments and became a tennis referee. She later joined the Sports Advisory Committee and the Universal Accessibility Committee, working to make sure all sporting events are accessible to everyone. Kiyo has since helped start the North East Tennis Society. The Society has been rallying to increase the tennis population in Coquitlam with the goal of gaining indoor courts. After 10 years of work, indoor courts have finally been approved in the city plans.

Kiyo’s Advice:

If you want to see change in your community you need to get involved! Kiyo took every opportunity to become involved in not only the tennis club, but also sports-related committees and groups in her community. Kiyo shared, “If I inspired one child or one senior to play tennis whenever I visited a different community group, then I left feeling successful!”

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The Champion: Penny Bishop – Chatham-Kent, ON

Where it all started:

Penny started playing tennis with her husband, Bob, and their friends when she was 30 years old. She enjoyed the social aspect and the sport just for fun. Later in life, Penny and Bob began to volunteer at the local tennis club and eventually both became certified instructors.

BTC Journey:

For over a decade, Penny and Bob have worked to build up the tennis community in Wallaceburg, Ontario. Penny has been especially focused on working with young children and teaching team tennis. Now, Penny and her husband work tirelessly to offer a five-week junior team tennis program with players ranging in age from 5-17. The older players act as coaches and mentors for the younger players. Penny wants the children she works with to learn sportsmanship and to encourage each other through team tennis. Her goal is that the kids are always having fun!

Penny’s Advice:

Keep it simple, fun and cheap! Remember if you can ensure the kids are having a great time, the parents will support it. Once the parents are there, get them involved.

Feeling inspired? If you are interested in becoming a Community Champion with the BTC program, contact your Provincial Tennis Association or e-mail Julie Gravel Manager, Community Development if you have any questions or comments.