2019 Parker Foundation
Autism Adaptive Tennis Camp
Welcome to our 2019 Second Annual Parker Foundation Adaptive Youth Tennis Camp for ASD children. This is a continuation from our first 2018 Adaptive Small Group Tennis Camp organized by camp director, Nathan Foo. The 2018 event was the first free offering which offered a one-on-one setting for children with ASD where volunteer buddies came out to help coach ASD children to learn the rules and basics of beginner tennis at their own individualized pace. The 2018 camp was a big hit with the participants and due to this success and enthusiastic request from parents, we expanded for 2019. We accommodated more children while keeping the 1:1 coaching ratio. We are hoping to have the generous support from everyone to continue this great cause every year!
This year’s camp was fully funded by raising donations of over $3000 with $1000 cash donations and $2000 sponsorship of tennis facilities and equipment. These costs included gifting each child with rackets and balls to continue practicing throughout the year. The biggest impact from my tennis camp is evident from the joy seen in the eyes of the children. Every year, my volunteers and I form bonds with ASD children who have never held a tennis racket or even thrown a tennis ball at the start of camp. At the end of camp. I can see the tremendous improvement not only in the level of tennis skills such as handling a racket or keeping score but also the level of joy and accomplishment in being able to participate in an activity just like other children. Many ASD children are good at repetition learning, thus suited for tennis as a sport that requires repetitive muscle training by repeating the same stroke over and over. By introducing the game to them, I hope that one day some of them might be able to use the skills learned; either as a competitive player or even coaching others. I have also learned how to form relationships with my students. One of the most touching simple act that brought tears to my eyes was when my student Tyler, who not only had autism but had one non-functioning eye and thus had coordination problems, wrote me a simple thank you note, which made me feel so appreciative and recognized.
Finally, the most truly humbling observation I made was watching these children improve their game and their personal growth from when they began with me in 2018 to now.