Local tennis coach wins provincial award

Tennis BC has recognized local tennis coach Charlotte Willis for her work with supporting tennis within the Elk Valley.

Tennis BC has recognized local tennis coach Charlotte Willis for her work with supporting tennis within the Elk Valley. On Sept. 22, she was awarded with Community Coach of the Year for her grassroots efforts in promoting tennis throughout the Elk Valley.

While happy to be recognized, Willis is more pleased to bring the sport to kids and families that may not have been exposed to it before.

“You can enjoy tennis at any level and you can get something out of it whether its fitness, enjoyment, social, whatever you like. That’s is what is great about it,” Willis said in an interview with The Free Press. “And when you get better at it, you enjoy other elements of it.”

Willis was also recognized by Tennis Canada in the summer for her continuing work to promote tennis in the Elk Valley, an area that didn’t have many tennis programs for children prior to her work.

“I got as many kids as I could involved in tennis and to enjoy tennis and enhancing their skills,” she said of her work.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Willis came to Fernie five years ago, and started Fernie Tennis Coaching in 2012, which runs tennis programs for kids throughout the summer.

“I run pretty much a full program all the way from spring through to fall. We do sometimes run winter programs as well. We do everything from after school groups to groups during the day,” she said, adding that she offers programs for kids aged three to 14.

“Every year I’m trying to add things, taking away things, trying to make sure the program is useful the whole way through.”

Willis noted that children in Fernie have taken to tennis easily and credits their exposure to all types of sport for that ability.

“I think because the kids are so exposed here to sport that they take to it so quickly. Having taught at the elementary school here, we took a program that Tennis Canada had written, we looked at it, and said that these kids are way ahead of everything in this booklet,” said Willis. After the initial introductory practices, some kids are ready for match play and to compete.

Willis’ dream is to have an indoor tennis centre in Fernie to support the sport year round, but for now, she plans to continue her coaching program, expanding it to offer more competitive programs.

“Because tennis is kind of exploding a little bit in Fernie, we are actually at the point of collaborating with Cranbrook, Kimberley and Sparwood,” she said.

“The kids here are ready for basic level competition. They are ready to go onto a bit of a circuit,” said Willis. “There is already the desire there, which is sort of what you want. You want them to initiate it rather than for you to force it on them. It shows they are ready.”

Willis has plans to travel to Toronto for a tennis conference in November, and will pick up both of her awards there. The conference is aimed at building tennis initiatives in smaller communities for both youth and adult programs.

Just Posted

Barry Marchi’s spirits high as treatment in Seattle continues

Barry Marchi’s spirits are high as he continues treatment in the United… Continue reading

PHOTOS: 2019 Wapiti Music Festival

With eyes to the stage and hands to the sky the crowd… Continue reading

New art gallery opens downtown Fernie

Two local artists, Tara Higgins and Kerri Holmes have joined forces to open H2 Studio Gallery

Search continues for new leads in Mt. Bisaro cave system

Cavers returning October, November to push new leads, extend Canada’s deepest cave near Fernie

Wildfire update in the Southeast Fire Centre

No fires currently pose a threat to structures or communities, says BC Wildfire Service

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read