Learning to master tennis on Anguilla
Published Friday, November 2, 2012 7:44AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, November 2, 2012 9:28AM EDT
The tiny Caribbean Island of Anguilla is perhaps best known for its sprawling white-sand beaches and high-end resorts. And thanks to the Anguilla Tennis Academy it is also has a growing reputation as the Caribbean’s training ground for young, up and coming tennis stars.
The ATA’s roots were sown in 1996 by Mitch Lake as a tennis camp for local children. At its inception, there were 35 students and Lake’s one mission: to expose children to the joys, discipline and rigor of the life long sport of tennis.
Eventually, his camp became a non-profit organization that provides year-round tennis training to Anguillan children, whether they have the economic resources to pay for it or not. Today, his dream has grown into a shared vision that has gained international attention with more than 3,000 children benefitting from his programs.
Regular coaches are all former students who have gone on to jobs as tennis pros at the island’s hotels. International tennis champions, like Canadian Dale Power, are regular visitors to assist with the lessons. Gifted students are awarded tennis scholarships to attend universities abroad. Wilson has even signed a partnership agreement to become the official sponsor of the ATA.
Tourists are welcome to come and take lessons. Whether for kids, adults, pros or amateurs there are classes for everyone. A highlight is the interactions you have with the locals on the court; locals who are passionate about this sport. The best part however, is that your dollars are responsible for ensuring that the ATA’s mission continues for the future.
In 2002, the Anguilla Tennis Academy received the Commonwealth Caribbean Youth Services Award for continually displaying consistency, sustainable development and strategic planning in the area of youth development.
If you want to travel responsibly, then you should be supporting organizations like the ATA as you make your travel plans. Promoting sustainable travel does not necessarily mean you have to eat off the land and sleep in locals’ houses. It does mean that you use your travel dollars to improve the quality of life in the communities you are visiting.
Whether you are making choices that positively impact the social, economical or environmental well being of the places you visit, just take the time to make informed choices.