What happens when there’s a sunny afternoon, more than 60 kids and their parents, tennis courts and an enormous stack of pizza boxes? It would be El Dorado Park Tennis Center’s Family Fun Day.
The Southern California Tennis Association recently launched an awareness campaign targeting specific communities, utilizing a pilot program in Long Beach. Partnering with Cathy Jacobson Guzy at El Dorado Park Tennis Center and Mitch Bridge and his crew from the Southern California Tennis Academy, the program included a series of three Family Fun Days, designed to get kids and their parents on the courts. The campaign was marketed three different ways, via flyers distributed to all the schools in a five to ten mile radius of the facility, postcards mailed to parents and inserts in the Long Beach Press-Telegram newspaper. Everyone involved made an effort to get the word out.
The program kicked off on Saturday, June 4th. Because it was unknown how many people would show up, plenty of mini nets were set up, racquets lined up and goodie bags were stuffed. Then they came, in droves. The little kids ran across the park to the courts, excited to try tennis. Some were a bit shy, perhaps a bit scared, so they hide behind a parent. Overall, the majority of the participants had never hit a tennis ball before.
The kids started with simple ball bouncing drills, then progressed to grips and the basics of groundstroke production. They tried hitting balls once the basics had been introduced. The key was not really how well they were hitting, but the fact that they were all smiling, and excited to try something new; and in the end, make new friends as well as have some fun.
After a few hours on the courts it was time for pizza – lots of pizza. All in all, it was a great day both on and off the courts for all of those taking part. It was a wonderful beginning to the SCTA awareness campaign. Plans are to take the campaign beyond Long Beach with Family Fun Days scheduled for the Seal Beach Tennis Center on July 16th and 23rd and later on August 14th. For information about the upcoming Seal Beach events contact Brenda Danielson at (562) 598-8624.