Northshire CTA Holds QuickStart Tennis Festival

July 14, 2010

In the Manchester Center, Vt., area, the Northshire Community Tennis Association’s equipment has made the rounds throughout local schools. It’s also making a difference.

Northshire CTA, a group of volunteers local to the Manchester area, acquired tennis equipment through fund-raising, personal donations and a grant from USTA New England, and has been using the equipment to introduce the sport to local students.

“We have a big tennis community, but not many places to play,” said Rhonda Lathrop, director of the Northshire CTA. “We wanted to get into the schools, and most of the schools were receptive to the idea, but limited in what they could do because of staff and budget restrictions.”

To find money for equipment, the Northshire CTA has loaned out its five sets of QuickStart Tennis equipment to schools for a few weeks at a time.

In addition, the group—along with Jon Kostek, USTA New England’s Community Service Representative for Vermont and Western Massachusetts—trained area physical education teachers on instructing children to learn tennis via the QuickStart format.

Later, Northshire CTA, in conjunction with Manchester Elementary School physical education teacher Pat Whalen, held a QuickStart Tennis festival.

The event, held in the gymnasium of the school, allowed students in grades 5-8 to sample the drills and activities associated with the QuickStart format.

“Pat has been a great supporter of tennis in the schools,” Lathrop said. “He was very impressed with the response of the kids to the tennis festival, and noticed that a few kids who had never held a racquet before had a natural talent for the sport.”

In addition to working closely with Manchester Elementary School, the Northshire CTA has also donated its equipment to other area schools, including Flood Brook Union School and Burr and Burton Academy.

Local NCTA supporters Scott Colebourne of Cliff Drysdale Tennis at Stratton and Greg Hasaj of West River Tennis in Londonderry are also working with the Mountain School and the Maple Street School to introduce tennis in the school system.

Currently, the CTA is working with the Northshire Day School, a pre-school to which Lathrop hopes to soon donate QuickStart Tennis equipment that will stay on site permanently.

“One of our goals is get these kids involved in tennis at an early age,” Lathrop said. “If we can have kids as young as pre-school age telling their parents that they played tennis and loved it, and that they want to go to a camp, or get lessons, that is a success.”