On a cold and snowy December Thursday afternoon, 21 kids (10 girls,11 boys) aged 6 to 12 came to the Boys & Girls Club Africa Centre gym at the Bosco Centre, for two hours of fun with tennis. They were not disappointed!

Edmonton Junior Tennis Society (EJTS) was pleased to welcome Tennis Alberta’s Technical Manager of High Performance and Junior Player Development, Kristina Sanjevic, as guest coach. Assisting Kristina was volunteer coach Nolan Sax, EJTS Executive Director Karina Trkulja, and raw rookie coach EJTS President John Crabb to lead the group. It was a high energy, fast-paced tennis program, starting with warm ups, moving on to basic ball control exercises and culminating in two rounds of team-based competitive activities.

“The tennis event was extraordinary for the kids and they all enjoyed and loved it so much. They were all very engaged and eager to learn from Coach Kristina. She was incredible at how she managed the large group and kept the kids interested and motivated,” says Mariama Nabie, Club Coordinator, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area. “The kids loved their presents and they kept asking if they could do it again soon. The event brought a great sense of accomplishment and appreciation with the kids. Karina and her team brightened up our kids’ smiles and got them to start a conversation about tennis and all the fun they had. We hope to host them again soon.”

The highlight of the event was that each child was presented with a new, appropriately sized Yonex tennis racquet, paid for through a generous donation from EJTS sponsor Westcreek Properties. Each child also received a string backpack, towel and wristbands from Yonex.

“This event was a special year end celebration to top off EJTS’ work with Boys & Girls Clubs Edmonton in 2019. In 2020, the intent is to continue and run programs at the Boys and Girls Clubs as well as be part of more special events. EJTS has been working with Boys & Girls Clubs in Edmonton since 2015,” says Karina Trkulja, Executive Director, EJTS.

Perhaps the most telling moments of the afternoon were at the end, as many of the kids gave hugs to the EJTS coaches. So much happiness and appreciation for giving these kids a fun afternoon and perhaps a start on a lifetime playing a wonderful sport.