Shirley Waterhouse, Camp Coordinator
August 8-12, 2016 was an historic week for Robson Ranch Denton PIckleball Club. As the second largest Pickleball Club in Texas, two of our courts were host to the first annual Grandkids Pickleball Camp in North Texas. This unique event will be featured on the Junior USAPA website that is being developed.
Due to a limited number of courts, registration was restricted to only 10 kids. It was filled in a few weeks of its announcement with a waiting list! Although many kids were turned away this year, next year will be a different story since our community will have a total of 16 outdoor pickleball courts. Even though the camp size was small, it was “mighty” in attitude, drive and fun.
Ford Roberson, club president and nationally ranked pickleball champion and certified trainer, encouraged the kids on the first day to catch the pickleball fever. He displayed his awards acquired over the past few years.
Warren Williamson, past club officer, current tournament chairperson and pickleball champion spoke to the kids each morning for the remaining mornings. His topics ranged from tips for playing doubles, tips for playing singles, the dink, good sportsmanship and how to play a tournament with a referee. He encouraged the kids, instructed them and motivated them to play both doubles and singles matches and tournaments.
Ellen Gilgore, our USAPA ambassador, loaned paddles to the kids who did not have them and also helped with instructions as needed. Judy Day, Jackie Killingsworth, Pam Clements and Shirley Waterhouse provided instruction and encouragement on the courts and pitched in wherever needed. Every child was given individual encouragement and instruction as needed or requested. Overall they just loved the whole game.
Mike Waterhouse took photos of the camp each day. Shirley sent pictures and a camp “recap” to the parents via email. Each parent/grandparent was provided individual action shots of their child as well as group pictures.
Four of the 10 kids were brand new to pickleball, and the other six had been playing in their schools or with their grandparents. The beginning players were given a choice of competing in a tournament with all levels or a skills contest for their new found abilities. All the kids chose to compete and showed not only wonderful new found abilities but also commendable sportsmanship. Each doubles and singles match in the tournament used official referee volunteers trained right here on Robson Ranch through our accredited Referee Training Program. Special thanks to Fred Thompson, chair of the Player Development Committee and to volunteer referees Jackie Kuykendall, Julie Laderach and Bob Laderach. Fred Thompson was head referee and announced the Gold Medal Match to all in attendance. Awards were presented at the end of the camp. Special thanks given to Bob Romagosa for providing sprayed pickleballs for the special recognition awards and Dean French for making camp buttons.
Doubles: first: Ryan Theleman and Charlie Willmann; second: Grant Wright and Santiago Lara; third: Clayton Davee and Morgan Schorn
Singles: first, Ryan Theleman; second: Charlie Willmann; third: Morgan Schorn
Most Enthusiastic: Daniel Lara; Best Sportsmanship: Kendall Schorn; Most Improved: Luke Metcalf
Next year promises to be an even bigger, better and more anticipated event!