It was a perfect 75 degrees on a Tuesday evening at the Carmel High School tennis courts. Mixed in with the sounds of traffic on Keystone Parkway were the sounds of the sport: the squeak of shoes and the smacking of tennis balls.
But when the clock struck 7:30 p.m., most of the courts weren’t occupied by the Greyhounds’ tennis teams. They were filled with kids getting their first taste of the sport at a free two weeklong tennis camp offered by Young STEM Academy. The free tennis camp ran from May 31 to June 9. Much of the emphasis throughout the Tuesday evening is on making basic contact and the proper way to grip a racket.
Most campers this year were between 4 and 12 years old.
In the middle of all the tennis rackets, tennis balls, instructors, parents and kids were siblings Grace and Jonathan Yang. They organized and operated the camp.
Grace will be senior at Carmel High School and Jonathan will be a junior.
“We wanted to do something over the summer that would help people, because both (Jonathan and I), we have lots of tennis in our lives and we wanted to share that with others as well,” Grace Yang said.
The Yang siblings have been helping people in Carmel for a while now. They are the founders of Young STEM Academy, an organization that offers free math and STEM lessons to students in the Carmel community.
Now, they’re expanding beyond the classroom and to the tennis court. They say the response from parents has been positive. Jonathan said the goal next summer is to increase the length of the camp to more than two weeks.
“When the parents give us feedback, it’s always been pretty positive,” Jonathan Yang said. “I want to keep that going, instead of having to end it short, because that’s kind of unfortunate this year. Hopefully, next year we’re going to have a little bit more time to engage with the children.”
This year’s camp lasted two weeks and included 112 participants and 12 volunteer coaches.
Oliver Seifert, who served as a coach at the camp and plays tennis at Park Tudor School, plans on offering private lessons this summer. For Seifert, the camp was an enjoyable experience.
“I love it,” Seifert said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to teach kids how to play tennis, and also, they have a lot of fun out here, so it’s a win-win for both (the instructors and the kids).”
The Yangs have other summer plans, too. Their organization will offer a free STEM camp for girls Aug. 1 to 5.
For more, visit youngstemacademy.com/home.