Sarah Cammarota has always enjoyed playing tennis. She’s recently found that teaching it to others is even better.
Cammarota, a student at Wissahickon High School, is one of two teenagers running Tennis Buddies Squad, a special needs tennis clinic for children and adults in Montgomery County, Pa. The program runs for approximately two months each fall.
Along with friend and fellow student Julia Friedenberg, Cammarota is looking for the program to achieve new heights over the next two months.
“We’ve had players up to 50 years old and as young as 5,” said Cammarota, who said she’s inspired by her special needs younger brother. “This year we’re looking for more volunteers, more participants. Really just anyone who wants to play or can help out.”
Tennis Buddies was started three years ago by Cammarota’s older brother, Stephen. Then a high school student and avid player at Wissahickon, Stephen started the program as part of his senior project. Friedenberg, just 12 at the time, joined in. Both had a passion for playing tennis and helping others, and that showed immediately as the program began. .
Over the last few years, Tennis Buddies reached out to the local community for both volunteers and participants. Stephen has moved onto college at American University and Julia has stepped into his role. And through word of mouth, the seven-week fall program continued to grow and is seeing an increased interest in participation. Tennis Buddies is now working with USTA and is a registered Adaptive Tennis program.
This fall, Tennis Buddies will meet Saturdays from 12-1 p.m. at the Montgomery County Community College courts in Blue Bell, Pa. Players of all ages and skill levels are invited, free of charge. The program is set to begin on Saturday, Sept. 19 and run until Oct. 31.
Along with being open to players of all levels, Tennis Buddies is open to volunteers of all ages and skill levels. There are duties for volunteers with and without tennis experience. Volunteers aren’t required to come each week, but are simply asked to help out whenever they can.
Tennis Buddies is also looking for equipment donations, including balls, racquets, ball hoppers and small nets.