School may be back in session, but not before a memorable week in late August at Camp Harmony in Malibu for 200 homeless students ages 5-8. Each summer, Camp Harmony is facilitated by the Los Angeles based organization, United in Harmony. The organization is committed to providing hope and opportunities to homeless and impoverished kids in Los Angeles and surrounding communities.
After participating in USTA So Cal’s TGA Premier Tennis School Sports Festival in the spring, Los Angeles Unified School District board Vice President Nick Melvoin requested that we bring tennis to Camp Harmony this summer. The TGA crew jumped in, along with the local Tennis Service Representative to train the counselors with the new Net Generation curriculum and equipment on the camp courts in Malibu.
The Head Counselors that took on the task of camp tennis are a committed group of high school and college students that return year after year, serving as inspirational role models for the campers.
Brycen Goldstein, a recent University of Michigan grad and basketball player, says that his favorite part of camp is “picking up the kids in the bus at their shelters and schools.” He adds that “some have never been out of their neighborhoods or seen the beach. It’s so fun and fulfilling to see the kids grow throughout the week.”
Eve Capitti-Bloomfield, a Sophomore at the University of Michigan. notes, “The kids that come to Camp Harmony live in high stress environments and they can just be kids here.” Oliva Henrikson, a Sophomore at Amherst College, believes that “being a counselor makes me more connected to my community and we take the kids out of their bubble providing access to nature.”
The crew of outstanding young adults agreed that tennis is an exciting addition to camp this year. “It’s cool”, said Brycen, a 9 year camp veteran, “I never played tennis before but it has similarities to teaching basketball. It’s great for engagement!”.