NEW YORK, NY, (July 31) – Camp Eastern is currently providing an Ivy League experience to 36 juniors from the USTA Eastern section. Taking place from Sunday, July 28 to Thursday, August 1, the invited campers have participated in rigorous tennis and health training, college prep advice, career-oriented presentations, and cultural events around New York City, while based in Columbia University’s dormitories.
The camp is enjoying its inaugural year in partnership with New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL), which is the largest tennis and education-themed community organization in the United States and offers comprehensive school and community based programs throughout New York City’s five boroughs reaching more than 75,000 youth from ages 6-18.
The 36 campers, who were invited to attend Camp Eastern by the regional USTA Eastern presidents, hail from the following places: 6 from the New Jersey region, 7 from the Metro region, 8 from Long Island, 4 from Northern, 6 from Western, and 5 from Southern and is split evenly between boys and girls.
In selecting the participants, attention was paid to ethnic, geographic and socio-economic diversity.
According to Ron Nano, senior director of tennis and program operations, “NYJTL is thankful to USTA Eastern and Jill Fonte for the opportunity host Camp Eastern this year. This will be a fun filled week, packed with learning. We at NYJTL are focused on providing tennis, educational, and cultural activities that campers will benefit from tremendously, as they begin to form their college and career goals.”
Nano added, “The friendships and memories that they all form throughout the week will hopefully last a lifetime.”
“We’re just thrilled to be running the camp in the inaugural year that USTA Eastern has outsourced it,” said NYJTL President and CEO Deborah Antoine. “I think it’s going so, so well just looking at the faces of the 36 kids. Today was an example of where we each told our story, but the reality is every person here has a real story to tell and it’s been wonderful to know those stories and over the years to have these stories unfold. It’s my hope that the camp plays some small part or some big part in each person’s life.”
“When Arthur Ashe founded the NYJTL network, the mission statement was to instill character. I think that’s a message worth hearing over and over again,” she continued.
Asika Isoh, a current student at West Point who grew up involved with NYJTL, is currently a coach at the camp. “Camaraderie, leadership, [and] lots of different things go into [Camp Eastern]. We’re trying to teach them how to grab opportunities that present themselves,” he said. “A lot of times kids hear about things, but they don’t necessarily act on it. We’re trying to incorporate that in how we’re teaching them, how to play take the ball on the rise, take it early, going for your shots. You can say that ties into going for things instead of letting them come to you.”
He added. “I love it. This is the first time this has ever happened. I think we should spread this type of camp around the country, around the world. I think this is what it’s all about. Getting kids into leadership positions, learning, this is a good experience for them.”
Isoh continued that the camp’s focus isn’t only about on-court technique, but also off court life lessons. “You don’t necessarily have to have a good forehand to get far in life,” he said.