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Love of the game matches with love of family

The adult instruction quickly garnered interest from the parents of children participating at City Park. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

PARKERSBURG — Hot summer mornings in June and July have been filled with tennis programming for children and their parents through the Wood County Recreation Commission.

“We had a little over 50 kids signed up for the program,” said Andy Hartleben, president of the Wood County Recreation Commission.

From Monday to Wednesday, participating children received an hour of clinical tennis instruction at parks across the Mid-Ohio Valley, such as Jackson Park, Greenmont Racquet Club and City Park. On Thursdays, they had the opportunity to play in tournaments against each other at City Park.

This year, a new experience was created that allowed parents of students to also learn tennis skills versus only watching from outside the fence.

“One morning I was out here playing with a Wednesday morning group and one of the ladies said, ‘look at those parents sitting over there, just sitting there,'” said Felice Jorgeson, the adult group organizer and a member of the local women’s tennis league. “The goal is that now you can take your kids out and play.”

While Tuesday morning was hot, children enjoyed their lesson and later enjoyed popsicles as a reward for their hard work. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

According to Hartleben, Jorgeson then had the idea that she could help offer free instruction during the time of children’s instruction on Mondays and Tuesdays that would help parents learn the basics of the game and socialize with each other.

“It’s just a little idea that sprouted up and became really awesome for our community,” Hartleben said. “It’s participation, it’s bettering their lives through something they can do pretty much any time the weather is nice. When we get kids here and active they are going to stay out of trouble potentially and find some positive people to hang around and that’s our whole mission.”

While Tuesday was the last day of instruction for parents and Thursday wraps up instruction for children, Jorgeson gave participating parents and adults a gift certificate to Greenmont Racquet Club so they could continue to play into the winter. Jorgeson hopes to continue this portion of the program in the future and there may be a fall program in the works.

Megan Duncan is a mother of two children in the tennis program and participated in the adult instruction.

“My favorite part was interacting with other parents and seeing how we can take what we learned here and go out and play with our kids,” Duncan said.

Participating children were able to practice backhands, forehands and serving. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

Her son, Zander Duncan, echoed her comments.

“I like it, because now I have someone to play with,” Zander said.

Paul Eddy collects tennis balls. When asked what his favorite part was, he enthusiastically responded with “backhands.” (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

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