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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ready, Set, Learn bus excites incoming students

EIDES’s Ready, Set, Learn bus delivered early learning packages throughout Fernie

Deer fawning season begins in B.C.

WildSafeBC is reminding people how to react if they come across a deer fawn

The Fernie Academy hockey players sign to play in the NA3HL

Dylan Baker, Chris Consolozio, and Bowen Arola continue their hockey careers in the NA3HL

Rivers, creeks flooding across the East Kootenay due to rainstorm

Residents evacuated in Fairmont, other properties on alert due to debris flow concerns

Southeast Kootenay school district set to reopen next week

Individual schools have creative timetables and schedules in order to adhere to public health orders

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read