Photo Credit: Alisal
The USTA Foundation hosted both “Warrior and Family Tennis Days” and several Wheelchair Tennis camps across the U.S. during a successful spring and summer in 2014.
By USTAFoundation.com staff
The Warrior Tennis Curriculum is alive and off to a fine start as the USTA Foundation, the national charitable foundation of the USTA, partnered with health care company Johnson & Johnson and its Veteran Leadership Council in hosting six free Warrior and Family Tennis Day events this spring and summer in New York and Philadelphia.
“Warrior and Family Tennis Days” kicked off in April at the famous Harlem Armory in New York City. The Saturday afternoon event was open to all military service members, veterans and their families, who enjoyed free tennis lessons, in addition to activities for participants in wheelchairs.
Each event thereafter, whether in New York or Philadelphia, drew an average crowd of 25 participants, as the guests were led by instructors from the local National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) programs. Each attendee at the event took home T-shirts and other prizes, as well as information about local tennis programming. The 2014 Warrior and Family Tennis Days calendar wrapped up on Sept. 20 back where it began nearly six months earlier, in Harlem.
The USTA Foundation Warrior Tennis Curriculum was recently developed as a guide for rehabilitation therapists and tennis professionals who wish to use the sport as a vehicle to help military service members and veterans make the transition from military to civilian life. In addition, it provides a fun and healthy way to help the service members reconnect with their families and their communities, all while improving their physical health and mental well-being.
The curriculum provides guidance on techniques that will specifically assist service members and veterans in playing the game, and it can be used by both tennis professionals and therapists with no prior knowledge of tennis.
Elsewhere, the USTA Foundation hosted four regional Wheelchair Tennis camps through a grant from the United States Olympic Committee as part of the U.S. Paralympic Integrated Adaptive Sports Program. The grants were provided to facilitate the growth of Paralympic sport programming for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces.
Each of the four tennis camps – in San Antonio and Atlanta in June, followed by dates in Seattle and San Diego in September – consisted  of a one-day training session for V.A. staff members, followed by a three-day tennis camp for the participants. Thirty-eight veterans in all participated in the camps.
Participants were afterwards connected to a local tennis program in their community. Also, the equipment from the camps, including performance wheelchairs, tennis balls, racquets and hoppers, were gifted to the V.A. to continue tennis programming at their facility.