Full story in the May 3 edition of The Interior News.
Saskia Terporten is developing a tennis program for the Smithers area.
“Ever since I remember, I have played racquet sports. I started with competitive badminton and recreational table tennis. Then I transitioned into competitive tennis as a teenager and continued until in my late twenties,” she said.
“This was in The Netherlands, where I grew up, but after moving to Canada I found it difficult to connect with other players as I ended up living in smaller towns where there were no tennis clubs.”
After being settled in Smithers for about six years now, she has been able to meet enough other people who are interested in learning or playing to become motivated to try to connect with anyone with a similar interest.
As a former physical education teacher in The Netherlands, it is her passion to work with children and sports. She contacted Tennis Canada and Tennis BC and feels that they have been very supportive in many ways. Jeannie Rohr, community tennis coordinator from Tennis BC, sent pop-up nets to divide a court into mini courts. These nets were also used for a six-week indoor tennis program last fall where 12 kids were enrolled. She felt it was great to see these kids try something new and most of all have so much fun.
Racquets for ages three to 16 were purchased and modified balls were obtained to fit with children’s height and weight. She feels that this way, all the kids need are comfy shoes. As they develop, they’ll grow into larger racquets and parents can decide later about investing in a racquet so they can go out and play with them.
She is also considering speaking to the Town regarding developing a tennis wall at the courts so that anyone can come by themselves to practise.
“I heard that the last time lessons and tournaments were organized was 10-15 years ago, so I am very excited to experience the enthusiasm at enrolment,” she said, adding that there were still a few spots open in the kids programs and adult socials for the future.
Veronika Maleschuk will be assisting Terpoten in her efforts. She played competitive junior tennis and then played university tennis for Seton Hall. She recently moved to Smithers with her husband (who grew up here) and their two small kids.
She will be offering beginner lessons for people new to the sport and also help with drills and conditioning for those who wish to fine tune their skills.
At this time, communication goes through the Bulkley Valley Tennis Facebook page and email. Parents can sign their kids up through the Town’s website at recreation.smithers.ca or phone 250-847-1600. The kids programs are slated to start on May 6.
More specific information concerning equipment and kids tennis programs can be found on the Canada Tennis website.
With submitted writing.