Kids Day Kicks Off the Summer at Crest Hollow
More than 160 kids came out to Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury for the first of three co-presented USTA Eastern Long Island Region and Long Island Tennis Magazine Kids Day of the summer.
Nassau County Kids Day brought together kids from the Circulo de la Hispanidad Summer Camp, AMC Child Care, Alliance Tennis Foundation, Hicksville Community Tennis Association and Daniel Burgess’ Freeport Tennis Camp for a free day of tennis and fun.
“USTA Long Island and our volunteers are proud to bring these free Net Generation clinics to our Region,” said USTA Long Island Region President Jonathan Klee. “Teaming up with our beautiful outdoor clubs like Crest Hollow makes it a wonderful first experience for many of these children who have never played the game. It’s all about the kids, and getting them exposed to tennis at an early age is fundamental to growing the game.”
While many of the kids already had tennis experience, for many of them, this was an introduction to the sport. The kids took part in various drills and clinics put on by volunteers from Sportime and USTA Long Island, while DJ CM kept the place lively with music all day long. Off the court, kids took their turn at the dunk tank as they tried to send some of the Long Island Tennis Magazine interns into a pool of water. In addition, there was a face-painting station and other outdoor games such as Cornhole and Kan-Jam.
New to the Kids Day this year was the introduction of beach tennis to attendees. The four sand courts at Crest Hollow allowed the kids to move from the court to the sand and experience beach tennis on a sandy surface.
“The beach tennis courts were a big hit and a welcome departure from the regular courts which our kids use on a daily basis,” said Terri Arnold-McKenzie, who runs the Alliance Tennis Foundation. “The dunk tank and face-painting were great additions as well. It’s so important for children in diverse communities, with ethnically diverse backgrounds, to experience our great sport in all settings, from the country club to a pop-up net on a basketball court. Each experience can be equally fulfilling and rewarding when done properly.”
Terry Fontana, who chairs USTA Long Island’s Kids Days, said, “I would say the event at Crest Hollow was spectacular. As always, it is the volunteers and tennis pros that make up the event. And without the kids, this could not have happened.”
Kids Day Debuts in the Hamptons at Shinnecock Tennis Club
For the very first time, Kids Day was presented in the Hamptons, as Shinnecock Tennis Club hosted the second Kids Day of the summer, with 100-plus kids from Future Stars Tennis Camp and the Suffolk County YMCA coming out for a day of tennis fun.
“It was really a great day. The kids seemed happy and we had a great turnout,” said Shinnecock Tennis Club Owner Daniel Oliva. “Having people come from different organizations that we really don’t get to associate with normally has been very rewarding. I hope to continue to do things in a cooperative and community-based way in the future as a way to bring the East End together. We’re all so fragmented and separated, that it makes it difficult to take a breather and host a fun event under one umbrella, whether it’s here at Shinnecock or anywhere else. I was very happy to host Kids Day and proud to be the first one out here to host this type of event.”
DJ CM was spinning beats all day long and the New York Open Skills Challenge was on hand to give kids a chance to win prizes by showing off their tennis talents.
“We’d love to see this event build, and do more things like this our here on the East End,” Oliva added.
Terry Fontana, Chair of USTA Long Island’s Kids Days, said, “The Kids Day event at Shinnecock Tennis Club was just great. Daniel Oliva has wanted to get involved with the USTA and this was his first event. The New York Open was a great sponsor and the kids played games to try and win tickets. The plan is to go ahead and continue to hold this event in the Hamptons for years to come.”
More Than 150 Attend Final Kids Day at The Hamlet
The third and final Kids Day of 2018 descended onto the grounds of The Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack, as more than 150 kids showed up for the Suffolk County Kids Day of the summer.
“It’s wonderful to see the smiles on the kids’ faces at Kids Day. I marvel at their enthusiasm, both from seasoned players, to the novices who have never before picked up a racket,” said Randi Wilkins, who heads up the Suffolk County Kids Day Committee. “Every year, we surpass the previous year’s attendance, and hopefully we are growing tennis on Long Island through these events.”
Kids from the Suffolk JCC in Commack, Central Islip Community Tennis, Burn Exercise Group, YES and Girls Inc. came out to The Hamlet to take part in the free event. Unique to the Suffolk County Kids Day was “Big Bertha,” SPORTIME’s bouncy house, which was out for all to enjoy on The Hamlet’s center court all day.
Just like the previous two Kids Days of the summer in Woodbury and the Hamptons, the groups were divided up into different stations throughout the multiple courts where they practiced a variety of tennis drills.
“The Hamlet Golf & Country Club was proud to host Suffolk County Kids Day for the third year in a row,” said Bruce Moodnik, Head Tennis Professional at The Hamlet. “Giving kids a place to play, learn and enjoy tennis where they may not otherwise have the opportunity, is such a rewarding feeling. Their smiles tell the whole story. The Hamlet will continue to host and promote events like Kids Day, and continue to grow the sport whenever possible.”