YMCA Love-15 is a free instructional group tennis program open to any Rochester, NY city resident age 8 to 16. The sites are strategically located to target underserved minority youth who would not ordinarily have the opportunity or inclination to play tennis. The summer session is conducted in July and August for 6 weeks, Monday through Friday at three locations in Rochester. It serves 350-400 children each summer. There is also a free winter program for qualifying students who demonstrated sportsmanship and YMCA values during the summer session. It runs on Saturdays for 25 weeks from October through March. Both summer and winter programs are designed to teach basic tennis skills, rule, etiquette, life skills and positive values.
Kids who participate in the program learn a lot more than tennis. They are required to read a book during water breaks in order to increase literacy among the group. They do one full week of Tennis Olympics which consist of 8-10 players on each team competing in challenge matches and competitive drills. In addition, they do team building sessions in which they learn ice breakers, leadership and problem-solving skills. There is also a big-brother/big-sister component of the program in which older participants are matched up with younger ones to instill the importance of being a role model and to pass on knowledge and skills set to others. At the end of the summer session, a huge tennis carnival is held at one of the sites to honor the students who participated enough days to earn a free YMCA t-shirt, book bag full of school supplies and new racquet.
Due to the popularity of the program, a number of participants return each year. Some are asked by Sam Chhoeun, Program Director, to apply for the volunteer internship program (VIP). Once they have applied, each participant goes through a series of trainings for 9 months (Oct - June). They learn safety procedures, court management, on-court teaching, professionalism, leadership, punctuality and communication. Students who complete this program often go on to become YMCA Staff & Tennis Instructors the following spring.
If you need additional information about Love 15, please contact Sam Chhoeun.