Well, I think spring is around the corner! We sure are counting on it with several events coming up. This spring we will be having a Play Day on March 20th at Millbrook Exchange Park and then the Swing into Spring Tournament in Wilmington on April 11th, followed by the Winston- Salem Adaptive Open on March 14 – 16th. I hope you all are planning ahead to make these three events. Please sign up on line!
In spite of the snow this week, Abilities Tennis, along with Western Wake Tennis, had a warm welcome Monday night, February, 23rd, at the Town of Cary awards banquet. ATANC and WWTA were recognized as Cary’s Partner Organizations of the Year for their weekly Abilities Tennis clinics hosted at Cary Tennis Park.
The Abilities Tennis clinics started last spring as a way for Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources department to help provide more adaptive programming for people with special needs. In a partnership, Abilities Tennis provided the training, curriculum and equipment through grant monies provided by NC Tennis. Western Wake’s, Laura Weygandt organizes all the volunteers. There are 2 pros who work with this clinic, Daniel Ebert and Reid Kinlaw. There have been 55 volunteers to participate. The clinics are available to 15 athletes and a wait list is fast approaching.
Watching these athletes grow in the sport of tennis has been exciting. Seven of the 15 clinic participants played in the Annual Winter Chill at NC State University. We are watching our mission being fulfilled through these athletes. Via tennis, ATANC provides exercise for the body, teaches tennis strategy to exercise the mind, and models patience and acceptance to further the social interactions of all our Abilities athletes.
Last weekend, December 6th, we had the 7th Annual Winter Chill Tournament! It was a blast! We had more than 80 athletes attend and we all snuggled into the 4 court indoor facility at N.C. State. It was a fast paced day with 2 short sets of doubles for each team and then off to play some tennis with the N.C. State Women’s Tennis Team!
This blog is mostly to thank all the many people who came together to make this tournament such a success. Everyone did so much that I cannot adequately describe all the efforts that went into making this day so wonderful. First, I’d like to thank Kirstie Marx for setting the foundation with 6 prior tournaments! Due to this ground work, we were able to talk with Simon Earnshaw, the new N.C. State Women’s tennis coach, and explain how it worked in years past. He was sold after talking with his team and they were all on board for another grand event. Also, Jessie Taliaferro was a part of quickly getting us an appointment with Simon as he had just gotten to town at the beginning of the school year and was getting his feet wet, but this didn’t stop his adventuresome spirit. Next, Deb Skiko stepped up to help with the planning and organizing and she is a real pro at this…she kept us on track and focused. She filled many shoes….setting up the Volunteer Spot, working on the trophies, decorations, and the list is quite lengthy! Meghan Kofod was invaluable in her expertise with the website, setting up Eventbrite was extremely helpful in keeping us organized and in touch. Debbie Ratliff also participated and gave us a detailed account of years past. Amy Franklin stepped right in with NC USTA and they were the biggest supporter of the tournament. She also came and took fabulous pictures, putting them in a heart warming video for all to enjoy. Cameron Rosenow and Chase Helpingstine were invaluable in their tennis knowledge and expertise in running a tournament. Thanks guys! Susan Flanagan did the t-shirts for us and Alex Welch did the logo. Cristine Allison and Jodi Heare contributed a banner. Madi Vanarthos sang an incredible rendition of The National Anthem. Christian Kofod was our stringer. Courtney Casey was in charge of arts and crafts. Fred Laws, Carson Welch and Ruth Hochstrasser ran the skills court. Dottie and Cammy worked the check in desk. Sally and John Hunter dealt with Subway delivery and a lost delivery man. They hauled trash away, cleaned up and had us completely packed up in 45 minutes. Susan Lemmons dealt with the finances. Many, many volunteers showed up and found numerous ways to step in and help!
Lastly, I would like to thank the athletes for coming and bringing joy that was palpable and also the women’s team for making this such a fun and exciting time…and all right before their exams! Y’all are champs! We are rooting for you all!