Eighteen kids ages 5 to 14 filled the tennis courts at Freedom Tuesday for the third three-day session of the camp. As Amaro instructed kids on one court, top members of the Heritage, Liberty and Freedom tennis teams ran drills on remaining courts. The end result was a community bonded through the game of tennis, a goal Amaro had set when the camps were established 12 years ago.
“When I first started at Freedom, the tennis program was struggling,” Amaro said. “When I was at DVC, one thing I always thought would be interesting if I ever coached a high school team was to create a community of tennis players that were always willing to play, which is why it has been so exciting to have players from other schools be involved.”
The four camps, which started June 18 and ended July 12, were broken up into two sections. Kids 5 to 13 focused on fundamentals while the other section, comprising high schoolers, ran drills, rotated courts and eventually played singles and doubles matches.
“It’s fun just practicing my skills and playing with people I like,” said 12-year-old Andrew Robinson.
Members of the Freedom, Heritage and Liberty tennis teams, who helped with the coaching, received community service hours and enhanced their resumés, Amaro said. They also got to catch up with Falcon alumni who returned as camp coaches.
Freedom junior Danielle Fender enjoyed teaching future Falcons tennis players the fundamentals of the game. “I think it’s important we’re out here helping them with their drills, skills and technical work.” Fender said. “It’s also socially benefiting them because it’s letting them get to know people their age.”
Registration for the event was down this year from its high of 40, but Amaro said the low turnout benefited campers – they got more one-on-one time with the coaches.
“I’m having fun just learning how to play,” said 10-year-old Caden Lewis. “I did this camp two years ago, and it is really fun.”
This round of camps was special for Amaro, too. For the first time, he got to coach the daughter of one of the first-ever camp attendees. “It’s great,” Amaro said. “You get to teach a sport these kids will play forever.”