New Tennis and Nutrition Camp for Kids Aged 12-14 To Start Monday, June 26th

Washington, DC June 23, 2006 – Starting Monday, June 26th, middle-school students in Washington, DC’s Ward 4 will have a fun, easy and exciting way to learn how to play tennis.

The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), in partnership with the Washington district of the United States Tennis Association and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, is offering the first-ever LAYC Youth Tennis Camp for boys and girls aged 12-14.

The new three-week camp, located at Fort Stevens Recreation Center on 14th and Van Buren Street, NW, will teach young people how to play tennis and will provide valuable education about the importance of good nutrition and fitness.  Camp begins Monday, June 26th at 9:00 am.

Participants in the camp will receive high-quality instruction that will equip them with the skills, knowledge and equipment to play tennis for fun and to get good exercise.  The camp includes four hours of tennis and thirty minutes of fitness classes daily. Participants will also benefit from coaching and mentoring.

Lori Kaplan, Executive Director of the Latin American Youth Center, said, “The camp is a great way for kids to learn a new sport and have fun, while also getting valuable information about the importance of exercise and fitness.  It’s been terrific to partner with the USTA/Washington Tennis Association and DPR to offer the camp and to introduce tennis to these young people in our community.”

LAYC, which has its anchor site in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of DC, operates a satellite facility in Ward 4 at the Metropolitan Police Club House 6, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington.

Mike Leon, LAYC’s program coordinator for Ward 4, saw the need to reach at-risk middle-school youth in the ward with high-quality summer programs and worked with Denise Skinner, Executive Director of USTA/Washington Tennis Association, and DPR to create the camp.

LAYC’s desire to offer middle-school students new recreational and educational activities fit well with the United States Tennis Association’s DEUCE initiative (Disparity Elimination Using Care and Exercise), which is focused on promoting health, fitness and wellness in minority communities.

Ward 4’s demographics have shifted in the past decade, as more second- and first-generation Latinos and other immigrants have moved to the ward.   According to data compiled by the Urban Institute and Washington DC Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the percentage of children living in poverty in the ward nearly doubled between 1990 and 2000, from 9% to 16%.

Ms. Skinner of USTA/Washington Tennis Association said, “We’re really excited about this new effort to teach tennis, nutrition and healthy habits to kids in Ward 4.  Tennis is a great sport and it’s an excellent way to get exercise and stay fit.  Now, these 12-, 13- and 14-year olds will be exposed to this wonderful sport and all the healthy habits that come with it.”

At the end of the camp, each participant will receive a tennis kit that includes a new tennis racket, tennis bag, two cans of tennis balls, a towel, tennis shirt and shorts, and a guide to all public tennis courts in the District of Columbia.

The camp will offer a second three-week session that begins on July 17th.  Forty young people are expected to participate in the camp this summer.

About the Latin American Youth Center
The LAYC Family of Organizations is a network of youth centers, charter schools, and social enterprises with a shared commitment to helping youth become successful and happy young adults, with the skills they need to succeed educationally, professionally and personally.  LAYC organizations include the anchor Latin American Youth Center, a nationally-recognized youth development organization in the District of Columbia; satellite and residential sites in the District of Columbia; the Next Step Public Charter School; the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School; the YouthBuild Public Charter School; the Art & Media House; Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops at Eastern Market and Chevy Chase, DC; and the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

About USTA/Washington Tennis Association
The USTA/Washington Tennis Association is the official body of the United States Tennis Association with the mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis for children, adults, seniors, and super seniors in Washington, DC. It supports tennis programs for DC schools, Parks and Recreation Community Centers, the Special Olympics, and other special groups.

CONTACT: JimWhitney, Latin American Youth Center, 202-319-2235
Denise Skinner, USTA/Washington Tennis Association, 240-350-6665

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