Update: January 2013
Two of the most important tools that Coach John DeLong offered a year ago were 1) more in-depth instruction to the Tennis Coaches to augment their tennis coaching skills and 2) the encouragement he gave them to continue their work with their youth program, “Club Tennis Deschapelles.” They now have 34 children in the program, 17 of whom are girls. They accept invitations from the Federation Tennis Haitienne to go to Port-au Prince for country wide competitions. And they almost always come out as winners or runners up. In the most recent Tennis 10 competition, the finalists were both from Deschapelles. They recently organized an adult tournament as well as a youth tournament at Deschapelles on their own initiative. In January 2013 they organized a small party to distribute certificates to all the children and coaches who had continued to participate in the tennis program. Walter, main coach and President of the Club Tennis Deschapelles, also gives lessons to some of the ex-pats who are working at HAS and the interaction between the foreigners working at HAS and the tennis group has become very positive. We also brought down donations of racquets, a good many the next level up for youth play which they had been so eager to receive, and grips and strings to keep the racquets they have in good shape. I had more time to spend with the Tennis folks this last trip. I managed to get up to the courts almost every day around 6:00 am to take lessons from Walter and also hit with other coaches. One morning the new CEO of HAS, Louis Martin an avid tennis player, and I had a one set match against Walter and Asnel. SCEH Vice President and Director Dan Taylor-Stypa, unbeknownst to me, had played on his college tennis team. He came up and hit balls with the youth and also played a one set match with folks there. The warm reception and the respect that we all give to each other is indicative of the second goal, to establish relationships.