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Florence, S.C.'s Genesis Program Shines in Second Year

July 29, 2008 02:35 PM
In its second year, the Genesis summer camp program for high-risk kids in Florence, SC was a tremendous success. More than a hundred kids ages 5-14 attending at least one of the three week-long sessions at Timrod Park during June and July. Head instructor Ron James and his volunteer assistants used the USTA's QuickStart format to keep things moving and ensure that the kids and their chaperones learned a lot of tennis and had a great time doing it. Equally important, we were able to offer the youngsters an enjoyable summertime experience and introduce them to the sport of a lifetime.

Genesis was initiated in 2007 in support of the Florence Mayor's Coalition on Juvenile Crime and its campaign to provide wholesome activities for area youth during their school vacations. This year, the program was conducted in close collaboration with the City Department of Parks and Leisure Services, Florence School District One, the Florence Housing Authority and a number of African-American community leaders. Since its inception, Genesis has drawn grant funding from USTA Southern, the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and the Florence Junior League. In addition, coach Garth Thomson has provided scholarships to enable outstanding Genesis graduates to participate in tennis summer camps at Francis Marion University.

Genesis reflects the FTA's mission of growing the game of tennis in the Pee Dee Region, as well as its policy of "giving back" to the community that supports it. It is just one of three free beginner tennis programs put on by the FTA this summer -- a total of eight weeks of instruction and exercise that will reach well over 200 children and adolescents. Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors), a bilingual program for Hispanic youngsters, is currently in its second week with one more to go. Summer Aces, for kids from the East Florence Mission will start its final week on July 28. For more details about these programs and other programs for junior players, check the FTA web site, www.TheFTA.com.



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