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WTA Tennis




(Page last updated 8/18/08)


For seven years the WTA has offered a tennis program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.  A great number of the participants have been involved in our program for many years.  In addition to learning the fundamentals of the game, they have developed an interest in a sport that they continue to play.

On May 8, our staff, consisting of Peggy Kirkeeng, Jim Siegel, George Kopacz, Bob Lindsay, Gary Feldman and Howard Myers traveled to Delevan and taught at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf.  The coaches seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the students.

Head instructor, Kyle Falk, had an excellent team, including Craig Caliendo, Stephanie Feld and Tom Litscher for a two week session (June 24 – June 29 and July 1-July 6) at the Wisconsin Lions Camp at Rosholt, Wisconsin.  Three hundred and twenty-five (325) children from throughout the state of Wisconsin had the opportunity to participate in our tennis program, which has become a major activity at camp.  Many of these children have also attended school at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf and some have made tennis a significant part of their lives.

The WTA has generously supported this program and has helped the growth of tennis among the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.

Thank you.    

History of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Tennis Program in Wisconsin

During the month of June, 1999 a grass roots tennis program for deaf and hard of hearing children was held in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, a small community on the western shores of Lake Michigan.  Funded by a grant from the Minority Development Committee of the Wisconsin Tennis Association (WTA), nine sessions were held for sixteen (16) youngsters, ages 6-17.

This program is a "pet" project of Howard Meyers, former General Counsel of the WTA, who drove twice per week from Milwaukee to Manitowoc to personally participate in the program as an instructor along with Jeff Ploederl, Womens' Tennis Coach at Callaudet University.

As the children were given the fundamentals of tennis, they demonstrated unusual focus and concentration.  They made excellent progress and expressed a strong desire to continue playing tennis, "the sport of a lifetime."  The parent's support and children's enthusiasm were demonstrated by their requests for additional programs.

Plans are being developed to offer a follow-up program in Manitowoc, in the summer of 2000, and to create a start-up program at the Wisconsin School for the Dear in Delevan, Wisconsin and in Milwaukee through the Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

An additional summer program is being developed with the Lions Organization for their summer camp for children with disabilities that includes a three week program for deaf and hard of hearing children.

Submitted by Howard Meyers - Chair - Deaf and Hard of Hearing Tennis Programs Development.

(committee report from the Official Guide 2000-01 United States Tennis Association/Midwest Section/Wisconsin District)