U.S. Embassy and Partners Launch Youth Tennis Program
Dozens of eager children from three different primary schools got the opportunity to swing a tennis racket for the first time yesterday when a new youth tennis program was launched.
Through the project launched by the United States Embassy in association with the Barbados Tennis Association (BTA) and the National Sports Council (NSC), 60 children from three primary schools from underserved areas will get weekly tennis lessons.
The schools that will be taking part in the program will be the Grantley Prescod Primary School (formerly Pine Primary), the Luther Thorne Memorial School and the newly amalgamated Blackman Gollop Primary School (formerly South District and St. David's Primary Schools).
Deputy Chief of Mission (ag.) at the Embassy, Brian Greaney said the program was part of the Embassy's ongoing commitment to engage with young people in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
Greaney urged the children to believe in the "power of sport… to make dreams come true" and hailed American tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams as two "examples of stars for whom sports was a positive alternative when they were young."
Assistant Director of Sport at the NSC, Mona Alleyne also pointed to the Williams sisters as examples for the tennis beginners to aspire to as she noted that the sport had not just health and disciplinary benefits but economic benefits.
"Now you have the opportunity for tennis at this level, take it, grab it, work with it. Look at it as an economy builder – later on down the road you might be a millionaire."
BTA Vice-President Patricia Murray gave the students a hint of what was to come later that morning, highlighting the "play and stay" method where "new starter players start playing games from the very first lesson so as to retain more of you in the sport."
Indeed, despite the persistent drizzly conditions, the 32 students who were present for the launch did get the opportunity to play that very morning, as the rain clouds parted shortly before the launch, allowing a fun-filled first lesson.