School is out, summer camp is in. Most parents know the drill when it comes to finding ways to keep their young athletes active in between the school years. Cliff Drysdale Tennis also knows this routine well, as a dedicated provider of such solutions during the summer months.
Like most programs pre-, post- and during 2020, CDT Summer Camp has taken many shapes over the years, ultimately landing on a model unique to each facility across the Cliff Drysdale portfolio. While many clubs, resorts and public facilities in the CDT family offer tennis-only sessions, several programs also include multi-sports or activities sessions that appeal to the non-tennis playing demographic.
“We structured our camp around the facility amenities available to us, as well as our coaches’ strong suits,” said Hannah Thompson, Director of Tennis at Weston Racquet Club in South Florida. “Ultimately, we landed on a model that includes tennis and pickleball, as well as other activities like swimming, soccer and arts and crafts.”
A balanced mix of racquet sports and off-court activities is a common offering at many CDT facilities.“We recognize that not all of our campers are tennis or pickleball players, so we wanted an option that appealed to our year-round tennis players and new faces to our program,” Thompson said.
John Newcombe Country Club in New Braunfels, Texas, adopted a similar approach, but divided their activities into morning and afternoon sessions. Morning attendees can participate in tennis drills and instruction, as well as sports like soccer and basketball. Afternoon campers can swim, join in water games or construct arts and crafts indoors.
“As a private, multi-amenity country club, we host kids from all sport and activity backgrounds over the summer,” said Club Manager, Mallory Taylor. “Our goal is always to provide times that work with our parents’ schedules, and activities that get kids excited to come to summer sessions and make new friends.
Plus, we are lucky to have a swimming pool, tennis courts, soccer fields and more at our disposal to keep our campers entertained all summer long!”
John Newcombe Country Club has even introduced a “Junior Fitness Performance Program” with weekly sessions designed to improve overall fitness including speed, strength, agility, mobility and flexibility so young athletes of all backgrounds have an opportunity to stay healthy over the summer months.
Other clubs opt for a tennis-specific camp design, with options for new or recreational young players, as well as slots for serious athletes looking to elevate their game when they have more time outside of school. Omni La Costa in Carlsbad, California, is one such example.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we became the go-to spot for parents looking for ‘socially-distanced’ activities for their kids,” said Norman Nguyen, Junior Program Director. “On top of that, we already had a committed group of high-performance kids who came to the club for serious instruction that would take their game to the next level.”
These days, La Costa’s summer camp regularly sells out months in advance (around February or March, to be precise) across both junior tennis camp and summer academy offerings. Though both programs only include on-court activities, Cunningham and his team have found a way to keep kids coming back year after year, as well as attract players new to the sport who have heard of La Costa’s reputation for junior tennis instruction.
Across the U.S. in Florida, The Ritz-Carlton Miami, Key Biscayne, has adopted a similar format with combined tennis and padel summer sessions. While 2021 saw these sports split into separate offerings, Padel Manager, Ximena Trujillo, and Director of Tennis, Max Mangones, recognized an opportunity for their respective junior players to experience both sports simultaneously.
“We have always had a dedicated group of summer tennis campers, but Miami is a hot spot for Padel,” said Trujillo.
“Thanks to our growing junior padel program, we saw a chance to introduce our juniors to more racquet sports (and more players) while also keeping them excited and playing throughout the summer.”
Cliff Drysdale Tennis has played an active role in the evolving racquet sports movement, and summer camp is no exception. As young players look for new avenues to stay active, make new friends, and try out new sports, CDT facilities have supplied a variety of tennis, pickleball, and even padel options, to spread the passion for racquet sports while keeping young players engaged across the country.
“The memories created at these camps last a lifetime,” said Scott McCulloch, Chief Operating Officer at Cliff Drysdale Tennis. “If we can play even a small role in teaching a new sport to a child, giving them more confidence in their abilities, or introducing them to new friends, it is a privilege that CDT values every camp season.”