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Volunteer Training

Five "Big Picture" Lessons You'll Learn at Volunteer Training

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Five "Big Picture" Lessons You'll Learn at Volunteer Training

Our first volunteer training session is only two days away! Training co-hosts Deputy Executive Director Emily Roller and Director of Programming Meredith Brown are ecstatic to share the 2016 curriculum with new and returning volunteers.

The first two-and-a-half-hour workshop will be held on Saturday, April 16 at 1:00 PM in Jackie Robinson Park. The following group session is scheduled for Saturday, April 23 at the same time.

We'll review the curriculum, tennis drills, and safety. Beyond these areas, you what can you expect to learn? Here are five "big picture" lessons we hope you'll take away from your workshop:

  1. The Importance of Setting Expectations. You are the leader, so you must clearly let children know what they can and cannot do before each activity. Setting expectations prior to play helps to minimize conflicts.
     
  2. Your Position as a Role Model. Your students will mimic your actions and words. If you act disinterested or remain silent, they will, too. But if you display enthusiasm and keep the conversation going, the children will follow suit.
     
  3. Honest and Open Communication. Unless you work with children on a daily basis or you are a parent, communicating with our participants will seem challenging in the beginning. In general, you can build trust with your students by being open and asking questions without making assumptions.
     
  4. The Significance of Repetition.  Our off-court, educational lessons will frequently apply to tennis, so, whenever possible, tie activities back to terminology from our curriculum's core themes: healthy choices, cognitive awareness, and grit and resilience. Repetition reinforces learning for children.
     
  5. Dedication to your Students' Success. We bring tennis to the kids not for our benefit, but for theirs: to provide participants with new experiences and to expose them to new people and possibilities. Your biggest priority should always be the value students receive from KCTL.

If you've yet to register as a volunteer or for a training session, please follow the instructions here. We look forward to seeing everyone in the coming weeks. Here's to a great season!

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Change Kids' Lives through Tennis as a Volunteer

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Change Kids' Lives through Tennis as a Volunteer

It's official: We are accepting applications from individuals aged 16+ who are ready to activate the KCTL mission: Bringing Tennis to the Kids.

Tennis skills are appreciated, but not required. Most of all, we are interested in positive attitudes and a passion for inspiring and motivating children in underserved communities.

Most of our volunteer opportunities are "on the ground"--on the tennis courts, blacktops, and playgrounds surrounding public housing developments in Bed-Stuy. This is a biweekly commitment from May 28 to October 1 at an assigned teaching site. To quality, current and prospective volunteers must complete one training session on April 16 or 23.

Additionally, we're open to meeting volunteers who can share their skills in Fundraising, Event Planning, Grant Writing, Photography, Videography, Web Design/Development, and Public Relations.

Registration

  • Complete our general volunteer signup form.

  • Register for one of two mandatory training sessions in April.

We look forward to meeting you!

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2015 Volunteer Training Recap

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2015 Volunteer Training Recap

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After a successful series of training workshops, our volunteers are officially ready to bring tennis to the kids of Bed-Stuy! Comprised of approximately 90 individuals of all ages, backgrounds and professions, our 2015 volunteer base is the largest in KCTL’s history.

Director of Programming Meredith Brown led two large group sessions on April 25 and May 2. Both meetings enjoyed high attendance rates, welcomed many new faces, and shined with enthusiasm.

April 25 at Marcy

The April 25 session was held at Marcy. Given the relatively pleasant weather and the large size of our group, we deviated from our initial plan to meet in a classroom at Marcy Library. Instead, volunteers absorbed the 2015 tennis curriculum in a much roomier setting: a big, seated circle on the Marcy tennis court.

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Surrounded by several dozen volunteers, Meredith outlined the organization’s history, our goals, typical class structure, and expectations for volunteers. The outdoor space was especially useful for Lafayette Gardens Site Coordinator Candice’s simulation of an off-court activity and discussion. Following the curriculum overview and the mock off-court session, volunteers divided into small groups to practice tennis drills and games. The session commenced with Breakout to familiarize volunteers with our typical end-of-class game.

View photos from April 25 training on Facebook.

May 2 at Asphalt Green

On May 2, volunteer training was held at Asphalt Green Battery Park City, an athletic facility in lower Manhattan. Though a markedly different space than the Marcy court, this training session was equally effective and engaging.

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Here, volunteers learned about KCTL in a traditional classroom setting complete with a presentation screen to visually reinforce Meredith’s speech. Again, volunteers participated in a demonstration of an off-court discussion—but the relatively smaller space didn’t prevent them from having fun! After a short break, training resumed downstairs on an indoor basketball-court-turned-tennis-court with a portable tennis net. Meredith led a series of drills with the entire group, which included each volunteer's opportunity to practice feeding balls with lots of energy. Again, training wrapped up with a few rounds of Breakout.

View photos from May 2 training on Facebook.

Volunteer training didn’t end on May 2, though, as was originally planned. Following unexpectedly high volunteer interest, we added a medium-sized group session this past Saturday, May 16. We also have a few smaller meetings planned throughout the final days before the season’s start. Volunteers still interested in participating with KCTL who have not yet registered for a training session can contact Meredith Brown to arrange an individual meeting.

Thank you so much to everyone who's come out so far! We couldn't do this without you.

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Time to Register for Volunteer Training

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Time to Register for Volunteer Training

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Hey, Volunteers, let's get this season started! We've redesigned our tennis curriculum to equip you better than ever before with the resources to engage and inspire our youth athletes.

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All volunteers--returning and new--are required to attend one training session of their choice in order to qualify to mentor our students this season. Training will be held in Brooklyn on Saturday, April 25 and in Manhattan on Saturday, May 2.

Led by Meredith Brown, KCTL Director of Programming, the training sessions are divided into a sit-down presentation and an on-court demonstration.

Our training sessions are filling up quickly. Be sure to register ASAP for your preferred date and location.

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Volunteer Training: Success!

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Volunteer Training: Success!

For the past two weekends, KCTL has held volunteer training sessions, and it's been a great success. Over 30 new individuals showed up to be a part this season. We all played some tennis, got to know each other a bit and then split into our respective teams based on site. (Let's go Tompkins!)

We have all types of volunteers--high school and college students to retirees; lifelong Brooklyn residents to Southern transplants to a California girl; artists and lawyers, businessmen and sports coaches, tech entrepreneurs and city employees; tennis collegiate athletes to never-held-a-racket-before newbies.

It's really great to see so many people come together to spend a few hours doing a good thing--motivating, mentoring and inspiring the kids! This season hasn't even started yet and we're off to a great start!

Thank you volunteers, we couldn't do it without you.

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Volunteer in 2014 with KCTL!

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Volunteer in 2014 with KCTL!

There may be inches of snow on the ground, but at KCTL, we're counting down the days until we can hit the tennis court! If you're interested in joining the KCTL volunteer crew, please do! We're always looking for more dedicated and enthusiastic individuals to help us on the court and off. People of all ages, backgrounds and tennis levels are welcome to participate!

Sign-up on our Volunteer page. And we'll keep you updated on upcoming volunteer training dates in April (for on-court volunteers). If you want to help behind the scenes, complete the form on the Volunteer page and a KCTL representative will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

And if you have up to 15 hours to spare each week, KCTL is also currently hiring a PT Administrative Fellow to help with the program's logistics. You can view more details on our Jobs page.

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Are You Ready? Season Opener on Saturday

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Are You Ready? Season Opener on Saturday

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I can't believe it's already here, but KCTL's 4th Seasons kicks off on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at all four locations: Marcy, Tompkins, Lafayette Gardens and Sumner Houses. We'll be keeping an eye on the weather all week, but so far the forecast is sunny and mid 60s. A perfect day for tennis. 2013_seasonstarter

Students: If you haven't registered yet, sign-up with your Resident Association office ASAP.

Volunteers: Meet at your respective sites at 12:30pm. If you're new or are unsure about which site to report to, head over to Marcy site (at Marcy Playground) and we'll get you to the right place.

Learn a bit about our awesome site leaders on the individual team pages: Maayan at Marcy, Bobby at Tompkins, Duayne at Lafayette Gardens and Dimitri at Sumner.

Check out a photo from Saturday's Volunteer Training: Part II. View more photos from training on the KCTL Facebook page.

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Volunteer Training: Improving Ourselves to Help Improve the Students

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Volunteer Training: Improving Ourselves to Help Improve the Students

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As KCTL enters into its 4th season this year, we've made a pledge to improve our program at all levels. We never ask the students to be perfect, only that they be the best they can be. And now, we're holding ourselves to the same standards.

To do that, we're using the pre-season to hold two days of volunteer training. Part I was last Saturday, April 20th and Part II is tomorrow, Saturday, April 27th. If you haven't RSVP'd yet but want to participate -- join our Volunteers Meetup page or RSVP on Facebook. (If you missed Part I of the training, you're still very welcome to come to Part II as different material will be covered.)

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Volunteer Training Part I
Last week, Jon W., the KCTL Vice-President, led a group of 10 or so, through some basic knowledge and drills specifically targeted for kids 10 and under. We went through the four types of tennis balls and how they're made specifically for certain age groups so that they bounce at waist height and have a certain pace to them.

Hand-Eye & Timing Coordination
Then we broke up into pairs to work on several drills. The drills for kids under 10 mainly consisted of dribbling the tennis ball between partners in the doubles alley with slight variations: stationary, while movings, with two hands, and with one hand. This advances to dribbling the ball between partners while catching it on the center of their racquet.

For the youth athletes, the goal of these drills are two-fold: to work on basic hand-eye coordination as well as timing. For the volunteers, we focused on how the kids bodies should be positioned, how their feet should be moving, and how to turn it into a game rather than a drill where students can count the number of successful passes in a minute. The winning student(s) can help lead the next drill.

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Serving Fundamentals
Then we worked on the basic components of the serve. For the drill, we all stood in a line with a good amount of distance between, and then we tossed the ball up with one hand and made the serve motion with our other hand to catch the ball. After we could all do that numerous times in a row, we moved to using the racquet and catching the ball with our hand and racquet at the point highest above our heads where we would want to make contact for a serve.

The serve drill helps new and young tennis players get a feel for what is a good throw as well as the swinging arm motion for a serve. It focuses them to understand and improve upon the fundamentals of the serve, without getting distracted by things like speed, strength and "getting it over the net."

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End of Class / Group Tennis Games
After the drills, Jon walked us through two of the most popular games played at the sites 3 Strikes and Jail Break. In 3 Strikes, a volunteer feeds the students balls and sets up an "in-area" where the student has to hit the ball to. It can be as simple as returning the shot within the singles lines to as specific as returning a down-the-alley forehand past the service box. If the student misses the shot that's a strike and they return to the end of the line. (If the student makes the shot, they return to the end of the line.) Once a student has three strikes, they're out.

The same premise applies for Jail Break, only if the student doesn't return the shot correctly, they move to the other side of the court where the volunteer is feeding balls, that side of the court is "jail." If a jailed player catches a ball of another player, they get to free themselves and get back in line, while the other player has to enter jail. It's similar to dodge ball rules in that way. Both games end when only one player is left.

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Volunteer Training Part II
Join us tomorrow, for Part II where we'll be focusing on drills and games for the older kids. Training is held from 12:30 - 3pm at the tennis court in Marcy Playground in Bed-Stuy (the corner of Myrtle Ave and Nostrand Ave.) Please be on-time as that's another life lesson that we'll be stressing with the kids this season. Lunch will be provided.

View all the photos from Volunteer Training Part I on the KCTL Facebook page.

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