Annual Carnival Highlights The Fun Side of Tennis

OSWEGO, NY – After weeks of drills at various locations around the county, young tennis enthusiasts recently had the chance to have some fun with their new skills.

The USTA Tennis Program started in 2006.

A youngster keeps his eye on the ball as he tries to hit a decorated box and win some prizes.
A youngster keeps his eye on the ball as he tries to hit a decorated box and win some prizes.

This year marked the 10th year of the program’s Tennis Carnival, which began in 2007.

Once again, the Riley Elementary School tennis courts played host to the carnival.

“The carnival is our end of the year celebration! We invite all of our children that have attended our program to come relax, have fun, and play tennis. It sort of culminates the summer not only for the kids but for my AmeriCorps members as well,” said Shane Evans, supervisor of the USTA Tennis Program at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

“The USTA Tennis Program sponsors the carnival as a way to provide our participants with the chance to learn the basic skills of tennis and the thrill of competition while in a fun setting,” he added.

The carnival is hosted by the Oswego City/County Youth Bureau.

“This year we had one new AmeriCorps member Macaulay Waddis and returning member Carlie Morley coordinating the event, Evans said.

Waddis, Morley and Evans spent the summer taking the tennis program to 13 different sites, including various recreation programs and town parks.

The carnival was free of charge and was a way for the participants to showcase what they’ve learned during the program.

A volunteer "pro" returns a youngster's serve during a "Beat the Pro" competition.
A volunteer “pro” returns a youngster’s serve during a “Beat the Pro” competition.

Free prizes were provided for all. The youngsters earned prizes like jump-ropes, hats, sunglasses and more for competing at different skill areas.

They had to return a serve and try to get the ball to land in one of several decorated boxes, and during the obstacle course, the youngsters had to control their tennis balls on their racquets as they navigated the route.

“Some of the sites that we have traveled to this summer include Riley Elementary, Fulton Y, Camp Hollis, Hannibal Library, Camp Zerbe, Cleveland, Sandy Creek, Pulaski, Constantia, Granby, Fulton CYO, Schroeppel and the Fulton parks,” Evans said. “Some of the sites do not have tennis courts. But, we were still able to set up some nets and have fun!”

This summer, they noticed a small reduction in the numbers at some of the sites.

“However we have supplemented those loses by attending other events such as Movies at the Park, the Children’s Gala,  and of course Harborfest. It was my goal to reach out to more than 1,300 children this summer. Although I will not know until the absolute end of our program in August, I would say we have already have reached out to almost 1,000 children,” Evans said.

For more information about the USTA Summer Tennis Program, contact Evans at [email protected]