HighFIVE: Marti Champion
Champion for a cause
There is often debate about whether a Champion is born or made. Marti Champion, one of the newest members of the Board of Trustees for the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation (CYTF), is both - born with the last name of Champion and made through her devotion to giving back to tennis, particularly through her work with kids.
Born and raised in Denver, tennis was definitely a family affair for the Champions as Marti was introduced to the sport at the age of 8 by her mother, Bonnie, who still competes in national tennis tournaments and at the Senior Games. Marti and her sisters spent their youth on the courts at City Park as well as participating in NJTL at Smiley Middle School, and eventually playing on junior teams out of Denver Tennis Club.
“I grew up working at the tennis desk at Crestmoor Community Association (CCA). This evolved into teaching tennis to juniors and adults as I got older. I enjoyed this greatly and know this influenced my career choice. Now, many of the children I taught are young adults who are grateful for my influence on them on and off the court,” says Marti.
Marti turned this love of teaching into a career as an educator. She was an 8th grade English teacher, middle school dean, tennis coach and costumer at Kent Denver School for 15 years and is now the Head of Middle School at Graland Country Day School.
Marti says “As the Head of Middle School, I see my main role as being the steward of the Middle School’s wellbeing for both students and faculty. School needs to be a safe space where all constituents feel cared for, seen and heard.”
It is this passion for working with kids that makes Marti such a valuable addition to the CYTF Board.
Cindy McLemore, CYTF Board President says “Marti is a long-time tennis playing member of the community. She is talented, well respected and a fierce competitor. She has dedicated her life to the service of children, and I know she will be an invaluable asset to the CYTF as we look to expand our pool of under-resourced applicants and increase awareness of the CYTF.”
Marti is still playing tennis, but not as much as she would like due to work and the occasional injury, but she reflects on the impact of tennis in her life.
“I see my parents’ engagement in the tennis community as a whole and it pushes me to remain active in the things I am passionate about. I want to give back to a sport that continues to give my family and me so much joy.”
And, while Marti gives so much of herself to others, she does have one goal in mind for herself – to play in a tennis tournament in all 50 states. Marti says she’s at “one down, forty-nine to go!”
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