An award-winning tennis program for Carroll County teachers has blossomed into a revitalized tennis program for all county residents.
Last year, Sue Rouiller, a resource teacher in the county's Extended Enrichment Program, noticed an article in the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Association magazine about grass-roots tennis for communities.
With the assistance of fellow teacher Louise Scalzi and Ken Howard of Four Seasons Sports Complex, Rouiller devised a highly successful program of after-school tennis instruction and play for teachers.
Much to her surprise, the U.S. Tennis Association took notice of the program, and in addition to receiving an award she and her husband,George, were invited to the U.S. Open in New York.
Based on her experience with the teachers, Rouiller felt that the community could benefit from a program of play and instruction that would make use of the county's tennis facilities.
Although a Carroll County Tennis Association had existed for some years, few people signed up for its summer tournament.
"I felt a need to enlarge the tournament frame of reference," Rouiller says. "You were seeing the same old people in the leagues and beginners were not included."
Rouiller, Vicki Ferguson of Carroll Racquet Club, Ken Howard of Four Seasons and teachingpros Carlo Conchas, Kenny Seitz Jr. and Ron Schroers met with Jeff Degitz of the Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks to determine the community's tennis needs. The result of their planning is a countywide program of instruction and play that begins this summer.
"Our primary goals," Rouiller says, "are to encourage beginners, both adults and juniors, and to arrange pairings and set up league play and mixers for intermediate players. We will have two tournaments this summer, and we're currently working on getting together a mixed-doubles league."
The program is scheduled to begin in June with four weeks of instruction for adults and juniors at three sites: North Carroll, Liberty and Westminster high schools. Participants need not reside in Carroll County.
Vicki Ferguson of Carroll Racquet Club explains that while both of the county's private tennis clubs are involved in planning and will help with instruction, the program is not for the benefit of the clubs.
"All CCTA play will be outdoors on public and school courts," Ferguson says. "Our main thrust is to get people to play, get the leagues organized, make this a strong tennis community."
She also notes that the summer league run by Carlos Conchas remains separate from the non-profit Carroll County Tennis Association.
The association has drawn up a brochure explaining all phases of its program. Annual membership fees in the association are $18 for a family, $10 for an individual and $5 for juniors.
Ferguson feels that the association's effort to give local tennis both strengthand exposure is implemented by a renewed interest in the sport now that American players are again on top. "There's no longer one dominant player, but good strength right down tothe lower levels," she says.
While local players may not aspire to those exalted ranks, the executive board of the Carroll County Tennis Association says its program will provide the kind of "sweat equity" that leads to improved health and greater enjoyment of a rewarding sport. For tennis players new to the area, it's an excellent way to meet other players and to become involved in league play.
Copies of the CCTA brochure and registration applications for the summer program are available through local rec councils, Carroll Racquet Club, Four Seasons Sports Complex orby writing CCTA, P.O. Box 1692, Westminster, Md. 21157, 848-6687.