Memorable Summer Junior Mentorship Camp

Memorable Summer Junior Mentorship Camp

Photo Limar Delicano

Photo Limar Delicano

High energy, and laughter highlighted this year’s annual Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons’ (SBTP) Summer Junior Mentorship Camp held at the Dos Pueblos High School tennis courts, July 20-24, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. each day.  The Santa Barbara Aces, mentors from four different schools, joined to create a fun, free tennis camp for underprivileged youngsters. The campers ranged in age from second to eighth grade. Some lively campers from the Westside Boys & Girls Club also participated. In all, twenty-nine campers worked with twenty-three mentors.

From Monday through Thursday, the day started with basic fundamentals and coordination drills. We would transition to snack break, which would allow the campers to momentarily escape the scorching summer heat (with ice bags) and converse with those who may have been a different age or skill level. The rest of each day was comprised of interactive games (Garbage, Jail, Monster…the list goes on) as well as one more snack break.  The seemingly excessive number of mentors only enhanced the campers activities because of the special attention and individual help each child received.

Photo Limar Delicano

Photo Limar Delicano

On Friday, we had interactive games, along with mentors playing exhibition matches using various types of 10 and Under Tennis balls. The campers enjoyed cheering for their mentors. After the competition, we surprised the campers with Yogurtland treats, brought to the courts by Amanda Oh, the company owner, and her son, Jonathan. She also donated coupons for free yogurt. In addition, the campers received scratch cards to win tennis prizes. Four trophies, (donated by La Cumbre Country Club Tennis Director, John Kinsella) were awarded to the following boys and girls-Johsue Medel and Brooke Harris – Most Improved, and Angel Broeffle  and Emily Irwin –  Best Attitude.  Camp ended with a pizza celebration, and the participants received information about more local tennis playing opportunities.

The bond between mentors and campers was obvious. Before the camp ended, there was a lot of group hugging.  Parents commented about how their children could not wait to return to camp everyday.  Director, Priscilla Hernandez, and Westside Boys & Girls Club Programs Director, Jesse Hernandez said that their youngsters always seemed ready to get into the van for the trip to the courts, and asked repeatedly about how early they could leave so they could begin playing sooner? They not only liked the tennis, but also those who were teaching them.

Photo Limar Delicano

Photo Limar Delicano

A young girl named Chloe approached me and asked,  “Why isn’t the camp longer than a week? I want it to keep going a couple more days.”  For this question, I had no answer, but the jubilant feeling I had let me know that we had put on a memorable camp.  Those who took part felt cared for and encouraged.  They wanted more and I regret not being able to provide more time to them.  Teenagers nowadays are far busier than ever before and their time is priceless.  From both a mentor’s standpoint and a participant’s viewpoint, the camp was a very worthwhile activity.

Local high school tennis players and several adults made the camp possible. I’m especially thankful to have been involved in such a brief, yet fulfilling program because of the high school unity it fostered.  During the school year rivalries exist,  however, but during the week, peace and friendship surrounded us. We all enjoyed the time together and hope to become more involved in the local tennis community.

We thank CathyAnn Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons, for again sponsoring the annual camp, and for providing free racquets, water bottles, balls, nets, prizes, and Tee shirts.

We appreciate the team effort and help from Camp Director, Elizabeth Frech for coordinating/organizing communication with Yogurtland, along with Site Supervisor, Allison Golledge, who assisted everyone, and Limar Delicano, the photographer, who came each day and produced the camp’s  history in pictures.

Lead Mentors

Christo Anderson (San Marcos), Harrison deBoer (Santa Barbara, Miles Hale (Santa Barbara), Renee Handley (San Marcos) and Katie Yang (Dos Pueblos).

Mentors

Dos Pueblos

Bryce Ambrose, Siena Applebaum, Lorenz Chen, Mason Dochterman, KC Egger, Ryan Mintzer and Kevin Wang

Laguna Blanca

MacKenzie Kinsella

San Marcos

Michael Chung, Dan Coulson, Kelly Coulson,  Isaac Oh, Jonathan Oh, Kento Perera and Yuka Perera

Santa Barbara

Logan Lender, Mason Lender and Jackson Powell

Christo Anderson

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