As part of our continued commitment to expand the reach of tennis in Southern California, the SCTA has partnered with the Boy Scouts of America to bring tennis to underserved communities in parts of suburban Los Angeles.
The “Scoutreach” program focuses on bringing scouting to boys from culturally diverse neighborhoods. By creating an environment with positive role models, a learn-by-doing approach, and peer interaction, the Scouts have an opportunity to develop new skills and reinforce self-confidence while having fun.
The SCTA’s pilot Scoutreach Tennis program, which was rolled out in February, shares these values. With the help of our SCTA Tennis Service Representatives and TGA Premier Tennis coaches, we have implemented an ongoing program at Casa Esperanza, North Valley Caring Services, and O’Melveny Elementary School. Through the game of tennis, we are able to engage the boys and teach them tennis basics, all while having a great time.
What does a Scoutreach tennis session look like? With the use of portable equipment specifically designed for kids, our coaches can run the program just about anywhere—in a classroom, on the playground, or atop a basketball court. The racquets, pop-up nets, and “courts” are smaller and the balls are larger. This combination of modified equipment allows the young players to handle the racquet with greater ease, in addition to making contact with the ball more consistently, ultimately encouraging confidence-building and skills acquisition. The coaches work with the boys on drills and instructional games.
We have taken multiple steps towards keeping the boys connected to tennis. Flyers have been passed out identifying local public courts in their neighborhood, as well as sharing information about our NJTL programs. There have also been lots of discussions about what it takes to get out there and play: a wall, a public court, perhaps a fellow Scout, a ball, and a racquet.
At the close of the Scoutreach tennis sessions in May, we will give each participating Scout their own racquet to take home. It is our hope that we have given the Boy Scouts the gift of tennis for a lifetime.