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Celebrating Tennis BC’s Community Champions

Apr 21, 2022
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

In March, Tennis Canada, in partnership with National Bank, announced the appointment of Kimberley Medeiros as the Director of Women and Girls Advancement, a new position created specifically to help the organization in advancing gender equality and growing the participation of women and girls in tennis. Kimberley Medeiros will devote serious sustained effort towards the reinforcement or modification of existing practices and the establishment of new ones to make tennis one of the most compelling sports to be part of in Canada.

One of the existing practices that make the sport of tennis in Canada so great is the commitment of Tennis BC’s Community Champions.

Community Champions are individuals who are sustaining the growth of tennis by addressing the needs of communities in British Columbia. In their own way, each Community Champion is currently creating opportunities for participation in their communities and is helping foster environments where girls want to participate and compete.

To thank these special individuals, this past Saturday, Kimberley Medeiros invited them to the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers for a day of celebration.

Tennis BC’s Community Champions

  • Kiyo Breiting runs blind tennis programs, volunteers for Canucks Autism and Boys & Girls Clubs, and is a huge advocate for seniors tennis.
  • Ingrid See runs tennis programs for Immigrant and Refugee women and youth via the Tennis BC & YMCA partnership.
  • Karen Roosen and Siboupha Sirimanotham work towards growing tennis in Lake Country and engaging community clubs. They will run a Community Tennis Facilitator program later this year to train volunteers to deliver tennis programs.
  • Josie Bettauer advocates and is a mentor for individuals with disabilities. She also volunteers for Canucks Autism tennis programs and is a great role model for kids with disabilities.
  • Brenda Dean is a recipient of Tennis Canada’s Building Tennis Communities (BTC) award and the TPA’s community coach of the year award. She’s grown tennis on the island, engaged in several provincial kids tennis programs, and has made a significant contribution to helping kids learn tennis in the Victoria area.
  • Jim Kscosis engages in several provincial kids tennis programs and has made a significant contribution to helping kids learn tennis in the Penticton area.
  • Graham Cooper engages in several provincial kids tennis programs and has made a significant contribution to helping kids learn tennis in the Vernon area.
  • Sue York engages in several provincial kids tennis programs and has made a significant contribution to helping kids learn tennis in the Kamloops area.
  • Marg James engages in several provincial kids tennis programs and has made a significant contribution to helping kids learn tennis in the Kamloops area.
  • Bill Spencer helped fundraise and build an indoor tennis facility in Salmon Arm to bring year-round tennis to local residents. He also organizes local tennis programming for kids and adults.
  • Mary Manley engages in several provincial kids tennis programs and has made a significant contribution to helping kids learn tennis in the Salmon Arm area.
  • Phil Dacre is a Tennis BC Ambassador and community coach, reaching and inspiring upwards of 100 students each season in the Chilliwack area. He is also co-founder of the Rally for Love fundraising committee which uses tennis as a platform to reach the needs of community members and organizations. 

During the day, not only did the Community Champions get to cheer on Team Canada, but they also had the chance to watch girls from local tennis programs take to the court as they demonstrated red ball in front of the Vancouver crowd.

Photo: Joe Ng

Community Champion Brenda Dean, who is currently the Club Pro at the Oak Bay Tennis Club, is hoping that creating this sort of environment where young players can feel a sense of belonging will result in a much larger number of them wanting to play the sport for life.

What I am doing is trying to create an opportunity and environment for girls and women to develop the confidence to challenge how they view themselves within their groupings. To measure up to their measuring sticks, not what other others think they should measure up to.

Brenda Dean, Club Pro at the Oak Bay Tennis Club

Earlier in the week

Prior to the start of the Qualifiers tie, junior girls from Tennis Canada’s Vancouver Regional Training Program and U9/U10 Circuit program were invited to watch their role models in action. Leylah Annie Fernandez, Rebecca Marino, Gabriela Dabrowski and Carol Zhao played an exhibition match in front of the girls and stuck around to answer questions and sign autographs.

Photo:: Pascal Ratthé