LACONIA — With funding from Irwin Marine, Advantage Kids will offer free junior tennis and yoga programs for Lakes Region kids this summer. Lessons for kids aged 5-18 begin Monday, June 29, and run weekly through August.
Advantage Kids Co-Executive Director Brittany Boles said, “We had a lot of hard choices to make. We canceled everything in March – and that’s a lot! We run tennis and yoga programs throughout the state. We developed a lot of contingency plans, things like digital lessons and remote opportunities . . . but, in the end, I knew that my top choice would be to show up in person for these kids if there was any way to do it safely. And we are so lucky that we did get that go-ahead.”
Co-Executive Director Dawn Dragon stayed cautious as the health situation unfolded. "It did become clear that we were in a unique position to offer in-person programs in a way that is more than safe – our tennis and yoga procedures exceed the national and local guidelines for health and safety," she said. "We are confident that we are doing the right thing for our kids and our community by having Tennis PLUS this summer.”
Advantage Kids Tennis PLUS programs include full beginner tennis lessons and short yoga and meditation sessions for kids of all ages, led by certified professionals trained in current safety procedures. Group sizes are kept small. Four kids will be in each pod, arrive at staggered times, and break into groups of two players per coach per court.
Tennis PLUS programs are taking place in Laconia, Tilton, and Gilford. The Gilford session is full. To sign up in Laconia and Tilton, visit AdvantageKids.net or the town parks & recreation department. Beginner tennis lessons are being offered in Moultonborough and Meredith, with registration available by visiting AdvantageKids.net. All Advantage Kids summer programs are free of charge.
“Combining tennis and yoga is a recipe for resilience. There was a massive study done that showed kids who play tennis are vastly less prone to substance abuse, they do better in school, and basically excel across the board even more than kids in other sports. Other studies show us that yoga helps with self-confidence and self-regulation, among other things. We are honored that the U.S. Tennis Association supports this model," Boles said.