Three hundred and fifty kids ages 6 to 13, along with their parents, 34 instructors and many volunteers, gave the clinic high reviews.
Participants came from 24 cities in Tennessee to learn from Kay McDaniel and her staff of instructors.
McDaniel is a former world-ranked professional tennis player. During the clinics, she captivated the audience with her personal stories consisting of her 10-year dream to play at Wimbledon and compete against the best players in the world.
“My kids look forward to this camp all year long,” said Mrs. Corder, one of the parents. “It’s our seventh year, and we now live three hours away, but continue to travel back to Cleveland to experience this inspiring camp.”
McDaniel’s first tennis racket was a Green Stamp racket she obtained after collecting over 10,000 stamps. Her mother sewed all her tennis clothes until age 15 when top sponsors, such as Fila, Adidas, TAIL and Nike sponsored McDaniel’s tennis career. An early setback was the death of her tennis coach, and later, an injury threatened her pro career until God miraculously healed it.
McDaniel realized her dream by competing at tennis’ Grand Slams for six years against legendary players such as Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, and Steffi Graf. She rose to the top 35 in the world in singles and held a #20 world ranking in doubles.
The theme for this year’s clinic was based on the biblical heroine Esther and the main scripture verse was 4:14, “For such a time as this.” McDaniel interwove Esther’s message within the camp’s “dreaming big, setting small goals, believing God, expecting obstacles but pressing through them all.”
“I’m so grateful for the wonderful gift Ms. McDaniel gives to so many children each year,” said Wendy Knot, another participant’s parent. “Her camp is a pool of various treats for each child, mentally, biblically and physically.”
Awards were given during Friday’s closing ceremony. Emily Stone received the “Most Inspiring Head Instructor” award, and Ashleigh Arrington received the “Most Inspiring Junior Instructor” award.
McDaniel presented medals to the winners of four different categories. This year’s award winners were Mikaela Ashton and Ben DeWitt who demonstrated “Most Improved” tennis skills. Angel Zuniga and Dante Williams won the “Most Christ-Like” awards.
A special TAIL tennis skirt that McDaniel wore while competing at Wimbledon was given to Ella DeWitt for “Most Promising” while Gadiel Guzman received a new tennis racket.
Renee McCollum and Teagan McConnell won “Most Participations” for their eight consecutive years at the tennis clinics.
In order to participate in the 2014 Kay McDaniel Tennis Clinics held June 2-6, you must register online at www.kaymcdanieltennisclinics.com.