BDCRA holds tennis program for children with special needs

Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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The Bainbridge Decatur County Recreation Authority (BDCRA) held a therapeutic tennis clinic for children with special needs.

Ana Baty, the BDCRA’s Community Development Manager, organized the clinic and said she was happy to provide an opportunity for the participants to get out and play.

“A lot of the response from the parents was, ‘Thank you for allowing us something to do,’” Baty said. 

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The clinic had 13 participants, and sessions were held twice a week from Sept. 25 to Oct. 19. Baty said that she started sessions slowly, working on basic hand-eye coordination first, and increased the difficulty of drills according to each participant’s comfort level. 

“That’s what makes it therapeutic,” Baty said. “We adapted the drills to their needs specifically.” 

Baty had the help of 11 student volunteers from Bainbridge High School and the participants’ parents to carry out the clinic. Along with a sponsorship from Milestones Pediatric Therapy, Baty said the clinic ran well.

“I was nervous about it at first, but after day one, it was just-—,” Baty said, ending the statement with a snap. “We had great community support.”

The BHS volunteers came from the tennis and softball teams, Purango, Anchor Club and more. Softball head coach Rex Wade and players Abigail Holley, Emma-Ryan Shirley and Kylaha Hughes represented their team at the clinic. 

“I have always loved working with special needs,” Holley said. “It was just a good way for all of us to get active with everybody.”

Other student volunteers included Abigail Trammell, Addison Tomek, Gamble Tabb, Gibbs Palmer, Kaylee Buchanan, Bansi Patel, Caroline Grubbs and Allison DeJesus.

Baty said having the student volunteers there to give participants 1-on-1 attention was vital to the success of the program and the enjoyment of the children. Now, Baty is looking ahead to another special needs clinic.

“The question I’m getting now is, ‘What’s next?” Baty said. “I do plan on starting something in the spring.”