Your Vacation Can Make a Difference
Campers meet their Anguillan counterparts and realize their similarities and shared love for the game. They also come to understand the differences in resources between their homeland and the tiny island. It is not about feeling guilt; rather, it is about understanding and resolving to help.
Our campers arrive full of anticipation and excitement. They meet their fellow campers and the staff and explore their surroundings while adjusting to new rules and expectations. Typically, our campers arrive without much exposure to the poverty experienced in much of Anguilla. While they expect some kind of juxtaposition, they are usually quite impacted by it.
Through journaling, team bonding experiences, and nightly activities, our campers begin to acknowledge and harness the impact their influence can have on others. Interacting and developing friendships with the Anguillan players, as well as sharing their tennis facilities, leads to intimate reflection on how best to serve them. You don't know what others need until you experience their hardships and joys.
Some campers have a hard time reconciling where they come from and the local children’s hardships. While it is uncomfortable, we help them work through it, as it prepares the ground for a deeper emotional connection. After this stage, campers usually open up more in our nightly gratefulness sessions and seem to gain a better sense of perspective when looking at their own life struggles.
Campers experience that existential moment when they realize that they are more than just a teenager---each one has the power to shape the world through every encounter, starting now.
Once children unleash their full potential, you better stay out of their way. They will shine bright and take on the world.
Socially Conscious Tourism
To make a difference in the communities that generously host us on their land. The partnership between the Anguilla Tennis Academy(ATA) and Tennis Central Corp has 2 missions:
Instill a sense of respect, reflection, and service in all of our campers to empower them to take on impactful projects that elevate other children.
Leave Anguilla better than how we found it by providing direct services and financial sustainability to the local community.
Positive Changes to Anguilla
Our service trip is designed to benefit the locals primarily. Our campers will have the opportunity to interact with the local kids and teach them tennis, they can also choose to document the journey or clean the beaches of Anguilla while they enjoy the beautiful ocean views.
We hire locals for all our needs: Private chefs, butlers, drivers, guides, excursions, outings, shopping, and more. By doing this, we inject some well-needed energy into the local economy that finally benefits from our enjoyment of their land.
The Cautious Curiosity
Gradually, as they saw how dedicated and passionate our team was, they all started to buy into the program and trust the process. They bonded with each other faster, and our culture started to influence their own habits. They worked harder and showed up everyday with the desire to shine.
Throughout the camp, a few Anguillans started to receive scholarships and grants to support their progress at the academy. These donations came from American campers' families that wanted to help. They also saw their own finest players earn scholarships to play collegiate tennis in the U.S. The message started to resonate with all the Anguillans that maybe something bigger is in store for their own lives.
By the end of the first week, every Anguillan had made the commitment to be a better version of themselves everyday. They embraced the process and promised to carry this inspiration and determination to improve through the next week and into next year, when we return.
Anguillan Kids Transformation
When we first arrived, the young Aguillan tennis players appeared warm but shy. One would expect the locals who have seen their share of promise-makers come to their country and leave without delivering to have some reservation.
Tennis programs all have a unique philosophy and pedagogy. Tennis Central believes in fast progress through commitment and ambition. The young Anguillans, because of the hardship they experience daily, displayed some early skepticism as to why tennis could be a gateway to higher education and bigger opportunities. They feel deeply how most of the photo opps for which other visitors come to the island never result in long-term support.
When all you know is your limited reality on a small island, you first need to know what is out there, and then you need a support system that believes in you and fuels your dreams. Our American youth leaders provided a window into a bigger world --- through sharing of experiences and reality --- that is priceless in creating new dreams for the Anguillan youth.
Continued connections with their American peers, friendships, encouragement and monetary support through Tennis Central's partnership with the Anguillan Tennis Academy are the fuel that helps the kids keep their focus on their dreams and work toward achieving them. Our yearly service trips create trust and deeper bonds that show the kids that we are there for the journey, not just the photo opp.