Fun is the world at summer tennis camp

Mary Christiansen and her volunteer instructors use positive reinforcement.

DALLAS -- There's a word for Mary Christiansen's annual Dallas summer tennis camp, and the word is ...

"It's just fun," camper Glen Nicol, 12, said. I like playing and look forward to seeing my friends and stuff."

Christiansen and her fellow instructors do everything they can to squeeze out every ounce of enjoyment for each participant. The drills are fast-paced. There is little or no standing around. The kids are rewarded with heaps of praise as well as little treats and prizes.

"I like tennis," said third-time camper Alycia Keating. "It's fun. I like the running, the athleticism. I like the fun."

When asked wat she thought of the instructors, Keating said, "They're fun, very fun. They make it fun for you. They cooperate with you."

Dakota Magden, 12, is taking part in her fifth tennis camp this summer.

"I like it because it's a blast," she said. "Nobody yells at you. If you do something wrong, they just help you improve it. And I like being around my friends, too.

"I like (tennis) because you have to run for the ball. It's just like being coordinated. You just have a lot of fun with it."

But then there's the issue of Christiansen and her dancing. The instructor leads the whole camp in a group shindig as a warmup and to help break the ice.

"I like playing and look forward to seeing my friends and stuff," Nicol said. "But Mary gets a little carried away with her dancing."

"She can get kind of carried away," Magden said. "She'll make some funky moves up, and we'll try to do them. One time she just did her own little dance for about a minute. We were all, like, 'Mary!'"


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