Youth and recreational adults continue to be the focus of programs offered this spring and summer by the Whistler Racquet Club, including a new school program that has been recognized by Tennis Canada.
Kirk Paterson, the Junior and Community Tennis coordinator, recently received an excellence in programming award for his School Team Tennis Program, which will likely be replicated across Canada. Last year the program allowed 200 local kids aged 4 to 7 to play on a school tennis team and compete in their first tournament.
The program will return this year, and will be expanded to include Whistler Secondary School.
As well, the $7 Junior Play program will return this year, with Loonie drop-in tennis instruction for kids aged 4 to 17 for seven weeks. Participants also must join the newly created Sea to Sky Tennis Association (SSTA) for $20, which entitles Junior Play participants to reduced rates for other tennis programs and tournaments.
“We had more than a hundred kids involved (in Junior Play) last year,” said Marjorie Blackwood of the Whistler Racquet Club. “Our youth programs and grass roots programs for kids and adults have been the focus for us the last two or three years, and getting a lot more participation in the sport.
“Part of the success we’ve had is because of Kirk, who was designated as a community champion by Tennis Canada. He’s worked with us to deliver this great schools program that feeds into our junior program, which feeds into our summer camps and tournaments. We have an increased number of kids playing at all levels, and that includes the higher levels, too.”
The Junior Play program gets underway on May 7, with different age groups at different times. A schedule is posted on the SSTA website, www.seatoskytennis.org.
The programs follow the new international standard, with smaller courts, lower nets and different balls for younger kids. Full-size courts aren’t introduced until participants are nine years old.
The Whistler Racquet Club also hosted several youth tournaments last year, and will kick off the youth tournament season with the Tennis B.C. Junior Challenger on June 7-8.
The club is also introducing more programs for adult players, expanding on their popular $10 drop in program with three drop-in nights — drill nights on Mondays, singles nights on Tuesdays and doubles nights on Wednesdays.
Adult nights start the week of May 26.
Two adult tournaments are scheduled for May. The annual HSBC Masters Doubles Tournament takes place from May 16 to 19, and there will be a Club Opening and Rookie Tournament on May 24.
For more information on programs and tournaments, visit www.whistlertennis.com.