Tennis: Twelve teen varsity players join Board

The 2016 Connecticut Alliance Junior Board members (front row) are: Charles Brossy (Saxe Middle School), Emily Neuner (Darien High), Karina Toub (Greenwich Academy), Abby Crowley (New Canaan High) and Luke Crowley (New Canaan High; (second row) Jack Ramsay (Greens Farms Academy), Harry Walker (King Low Heywood), Hayden Sharnsky (Fordham Prep), Bobby Neuner (Darien High), Chris Greene (New Canaan High) and Caroline Gordon (New Canaan High). Missing from photo Eric Toub (Greenwich High).

The 2016 Connecticut Alliance Junior Board members (front row) are: Charles Brossy (Saxe Middle School), Emily Neuner (Darien High), Karina Toub (Greenwich Academy), Abby Crowley (New Canaan High) and Luke Crowley (New Canaan High; (second row) Jack Ramsay (Greens Farms Academy), Harry Walker (King Low Heywood), Hayden Sharnsky (Fordham Prep), Bobby Neuner (Darien High), Chris Greene (New Canaan High) and Caroline Gordon (New Canaan High). Missing from photo Eric Toub (Greenwich High).

This April, the Connecticut Alliance for Tennis + Education (CATE) held a kick-off meeting for the inaugural Connecticut Alliance Junior Board, which includes 12 teen varsity tennis players from Fairfield County.

The students were selected in a competitive vetting process by both CATE board members and recommendations from local high school varsity tennis coaches.

The Connecticut Alliance was formed by a group of enthusiastic tennis players who wished to support the efforts of the Community Tennis Associations in under-served Connecticut neighborhoods.

Connecticut’s Community Tennis Associations are currently serving over 1,000 children each year through their programs in Bridgeport, Danbury, New Haven, Norwalk and Stamford.

Aside from on-court instruction and competitive play, programs provide academic support, life skills coaching, nutrition education, educational field trips and college and career counseling.

According to Connecticut Alliance Co-Director Mary Stichter, “Tennis is a wonderful sport to bring to at-risk kids. Aside from the obvious benefits of exercise, teamwork and goal setting, these tennis programs provide the children with a safe place where they are exposed to positive adult role models.

“These community tennis programs work in our most economically challenged Connecticut communities and provide a path to success for the children living there.”

CATE Junior Board members have been asked to raise awareness of the Connecticut Community Tennis Programs among their peers by: organizing a School/Team CATE Awareness Campaign; writing an article for their school newspaper, or contact the local paper Editor to suggest a story; planning a healthy snack drive for program participants; planning an equipment drive within their school or club, organizing a group of teammates to work on the court with the children of any of the five tennis programs; or hosting a tennis carnival for the kids at their home courts or a local club.

According to Co-Director Amy Sheffield, “It’s wonderful that kids at this young age can support grassroots tennis programs that positively influence a child’s life. It can make the difference between a child dropping out of high school or going on to earn a college degree.”

Junior board members are an important extension of the Alliance organization.

Each junior member will be actively involved in a project that promotes awareness and raises vital resources to support Grassroots tennis programs.

In addition, the junior board will assist with organizing and coordinating this year’s Pro-am Tournament and Junior Showcase and Clinic.

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