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Local program expands afterschool tennis for Middlebury youth

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Community Athletics Foundation (ACAF) has offered free after school tennis for middle school students through their Youth Tennis Club for over two years now. As ACAF is entering their third year of the program, they have expanded the program’s depth through partnerships, incorporating mentors, and providing additional health and wellness opportunities through tennis.
In addition to the tennis programming, the club provides one hour a week of supervised off-the-court time so teens can work directly with a high school or college mentor for support around academics and participate in other health related programs during this time. For this year, the program will partner with Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op and Middlebury Fitness to offer some of those additional experiences within the club.
“We are hoping the Middlebury model will serve as a pilot program that we can implement in the other school districts in Addison County,” says Erin Morrison, Programs and Communications Manager with the Addison Community Foundation.
A collaboration between Addison Community Athletic Foundation, Addison Central Teens, and local schools within the Addison Central Supervisory District, the club hopes to not only support a potential tennis pipeline for high school tennis, but also provide another option for after-school programming and solidify partnerships between the schools and community-based organizations. Sean Farrell the Activities Director at Middlebury Union High Schools says, “I’m excited to see future growth in the high school’s tennis program now that this opportunity has started to develop future tennis players in the district.” Jill Dunn, who plans to serve her second year as the head coach for MUHS girls’ tennis, echoes this support.
The program, now titled Tiger Tennis Club, utilizes courts for the fall and spring programs in Middlebury Recreation Park as well at Middlebury Indoor Tennis. The collaboration with Addison Central Teens during the fall allowed for a natural space for youth to grab a healthy snack and complete a homework assignment before heading out on the court. For Zoe Kaslow, Executive Director of Addison Central Teens, Tiger Tennis Club supports the whole teen, not just the athlete.  “Hosting part of the programming at the Teen Center shows teens that tennis can be accessible to the whole community — anyone can play tennis.”
In addition to the Tiger Tennis Club, ACAF partners with many elementary schools and summer camps to offer year-round programs for elementary age students as well as provides year-round services and programs for youth and adults at Middlebury Indoor Tennis.
Families can sign up for Tiger Tennis Club by visiting acafvt.org. Additionally, more information about Teen Center programming can be found at middteens.org.

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