Hayden Tennis Camp (1999)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from an article in the Capper Foundation Archives. The choice of words used at the time this was written may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views.

Hayden Tennis Camp (1999)

The sport of tennis added a few new fans last week, as kids from the Capper Foundation took part in the first Camp for the Physically Challenged and Hayden High school. The camp is part of a new push by the United States Tennis Association to introduce the sport to those who might otherwise not be able to experience it, said Connie Robertson, coordinator of Kansas Tennis Development for the Missouri Valley Section of the USTA and instructor of the four-day camp.

Robertson said the idea for the camp came from a desire to expose differently abled children to the sport of tennis. “I want these kids to be able to get out and enjoy [tennis],” she said.

Robertson knows a little bit about coaching herself, having coached the Hayden boys and girls tennis teams for 15 seasons. After deciding to hold this year’s camp, she was able to persuade officials at Hayden to donate use of their facilities for the four-day camp.

Robertson said most tennis camps stress fundamentals and technique, items that weren’t overlooked during the week. But at the camp for physically challenged, she said, the emphasis isn’t on the fundamentals as much as it is on fun.

“I don’t think fundamentals are all that important,” Robertson said. “To look at their faces when they know they’ve done it, that’s what this thing is all about.”

Robertson said she had been so encouraged by the success of this camp that plans are already underway for future camps in the fall and next year.

“I want this to be fun for them, something they might go out and try on their own. It’s a thrill to see these kids do all this stuff.”