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Each year, Partners Aligned Toward Health (PATH) sponsors the Toe River Racqueteers Tennis Camp, with the goal of uniting our community through healthy activity. In June, we held the 9th annual tennis camp in both Mitchell and Yancey Counties, and by all accounts it was a great success! Last summer, approximately one hundred kids participated in the camp in both Mitchell and Yancey Counties combined. This year, one hundred kids participated in Yancey County alone!  Mitchell County participation doubled from 20 kids in 2016, to 45 kids this summer!

When asked why tennis was selected as the sport for this camp, Mike Baldwin, founder of Tennis Insights and coach of the tennis camp shared: “Tennis is a lifetime sport.  Each one of the young people that is serving as a camp counselor this week began as a camp participant. Kids may be introduced to tennis at this camp, but they can continue to play in high school, in college, and well into their 70’s!  This camp is just planting the seed for a healthy active lifestyle.” Coach Baldwin also stated that the intent of the camp is not just about fitness. “This camp is really about providing a free community activity to enrich the lives of young people…it just happens to take place on a tennis court” says Coach Baldwin.

According to Baldwin, this camp is so unique and successful that he has been approached by other communities who wish to replicate the model. “We are very proud to be able to offer this resource to the community,” says Schell McCall, Executive Director of PATH. “With the continued partnership of Coach Baldwin and the many community businesses who sponsor the event annually, we hope to offer it for many years to come!”