Tennis is for EVERYONE at the Special Pops
program in Savannah, Georgia.
It’s one thing to have a worthy cause; it’s another thing to have a core of dedicated volunteers. But what is truly remarkable is to have the support of an entire community. At The Landings in Savannah, Georgia, Special Pops Tennis is one of those remarkable adaptive tennis programs.
Special Pops is dedicated to enriching the lives and well being of the intellectually challenged through active participation in tennis. This volunteer organization conducts free instructional clinics from March until October to individuals who may never before have had tennis experience. The program introduces these players to the basics of tennis, including exercise drills, instruction, and (eventually) tournaments. Most importantly, though, is the opportunity for social interaction among the athletes.
The Landings, an island community about 12 miles from downtown, is the official site in Savannah (and surrounding counties) for adaptive tennis. It is operated under the auspices of SATA (Savannah Area Tennis Association). Although Special Pops started in Savannah only three years ago, more than 45 volunteers are dedicated to serving about 30 athletes (ages 15 to 47). Besides their time, residents have donated a healthy collection of nearly new racquets and gently used sportswear.
What has made this program so successful is the tremendous support from this private club’s organization. Not only have the three tennis pros become involved (on a recent weekend, for instance, they gave their time to train 20 volunteers), but also the development has donated the use of six courts for 21 Saturday afternoons. In addition, The Landings Company has graciously provided a van and a driver weekly to pick up athletes at designated sites in Savannah.
Awareness is inherent to creating success, and the club has showcased Special Pops in their numerous communications. They’ve encouraged exhibitions by allowing two Special Pops exhibitions each year, both between matches at well-attended USTA-sanctioned events (last year at the Savannah Challenger and the Men’s 40-and-over Nationals). What has evolved at The Landings is outstanding in that the whole tennis community has pitched in to contribute time, money, experience, and resources.
For more information check out their website at www.specialpopstennis-savannah.com