The Anguilla Tennis Academy (“ATA”) is a nonprofit organization established under the laws of Anguilla. Since 1996, the ATA has been providing tennis service to the island of Anguilla as well as other surrounding countries. The ATA is a non-profit grassroots program that started small and has grown into a major force for development on the island and in the region. From its humble beginnings in 1996, a camp was started with thirty-five (35) students on two public tennis courts built by the Anguilla Social Security Board on the James Ronald Webster Park, The Valley, Anguilla.
The ATA, has seen over 4,000 participants go through the program and benefit from tennis. The program has inspired many tennis players, college coaches, television producers and musical artists to share in this worthwhile endeavor and to work towards making the project a reality.
The Anguilla Tennis Academy is dedicated to providing the highest quality tennis instruction to Anguillian, Caribbean and International youth in a competitive environment, while encouraging exemplary sportsmanship.
- To make tennis athletic scholarships available for children who excel in the training programs.
- To foster long lasting friendships through our cultural exchange and outreach programs.
- To promote a strong sense of community by recruiting and hiring graduates of the ATA to return as tennis coaches.
- To establish professional relationships with other local, regional, and international tennis programs.
The primary goal of the Anguilla Tennis Academy is to expose children to the joys, discipline and rigor of the lifelong sport of tennis, where they can acquire technical skills, experience competitive sportsmanship and develop a strong sense of community.
The Anguilla Tennis Academy is committed to developing healthy minds and providing educational opportunities for children through the sport of tennis. The academy was founded on the principle of using tennis as a vehicle to reach and empower children and to equip them with the skills and knowledge to become responsible citizens of their community.
The Anguilla Tennis Academy will continue to provide a nurturing environment where children will learn how to apply the principles of sacrifice, work, courage, and service towards building a successful life and becoming ambassadors of the sport of tennis.
Currently at the ATA we have several programs for the youth. The programs of the ATA are structured to empower young people by using tennis as a vehicle for social transformation. The recruitment, enrollment, and instruction methodologies are designed to cut across economic and social handicaps that deny access to motivated and talented young persons interested in learning the sport.
Our award winning youth programs have achieved success and international attention among tennis professionals despite the fact that our primary operation started on two deteriorating public courts, and occasionally, on a few of the local hotel courts during the off-season. The programs are designed to challenge the students in three main areas: (1) Academically – to help students meet the requirements of accredited colleges; (2) technically – to help students reach exceptional standards in tennis and (3) Socially – to help students demonstrate self-discipline, anger management skills, team building and leadership.
The programs provide its graduates with an opportunity to pursue a college education through its scholarship program. The ATA has assisted three persons to achieve tennis athletic scholarships and is currently assisting two more potential candidates to attend college in the year 2015. The ATA is proud of the fact that some of its graduates have gone on to college on tennis scholarships facilitated by the program and others that remained at home have held the positions of directors of tennis at some of our leading resorts such as Malliouhana, Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa and Viceroy Anguilla.
Our two main programs are the “After School Program” and “The Annual Summer Camp”.
After School Program
The ATA started its After School Program to provide year-round tennis instruction for interested children. The After School Program runs concurrently with the school year from September 1st to July 5th each year. The Program starts the first week in September and ends the first week in July. The program initially ran on the two public courts on the James Ronald Webster Park. In 2007 the ATA moved its After School Program to its tennis facilities in Blowing Point. The program has grown from an attendance of about fifty-five (55) children between the ages of 5 – 17, to a registration of over eighty (80) children.
The After School Program has proved to be an instrumental part of the life of students who are excelling at the local schools in Anguilla. Many of the participants and their parents have indicated that prior to joining the After School Program, some students were struggling with school work due to an inability to focus and work in groups. After participating in the ATA's After School Program there has been an improvement in performance in school work, in group projects and an improvement in the life of the children as a whole. For the ATA, this is a fulfillment of its philosophy. Having recognized the importance of the After School Program in the lives of children in Anguilla, a scholarship program was introduced. The After School Program offers scholarships for students who are interested but do not have the means to pay the monthly fee of US$75. Our goal is to have at least 100 children participating in the program annually.
Annual Summer Program
During the month of July each year, the ATA conducts a summer camp which starts on the second week of July and runs for two weeks. Over 150 children participate in the Summer Camp regularly. Certified USPTA and college coaches are flown in from the USA and around the world to assist and help children grow in the sport. The summer camp is one of the biggest attractions for the ATA facility. The Summer Camp is also used as a recruiting tool for children to participate in the After School Program.
FOUNDER OF THE ATA, MR. MITCHELLE LAKE
Mitchelle Lake is the founder and director of the Anguilla Tennis Academy. His undying devotion to his country speaks for itself and is tangible in the hearts of the many children he has aided in not only athletic prowess but character as well. His dream of bringing tennis to the island of Anguilla began while attending Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. He realized that he was afforded an opportunity to receive an education free of charge based on the fact that he excelled at tennis. Anguilla has no university, therefore children must seek other avenues as not everyone can excel at academics and tennis like he has.
In the summer of 1996 Mr. Lake decided to give back to his fellow countrymen by dedicating three weeks of the Summer to provide a free summer tennis camp for children on the island who possessed an interest in tennis. Since the ATA's inception, the program has grown into what it is today. Although his dream was to give back to the community, the overwhelming support he received made him realize that the facilities were inadequate on the island. Therefore, he set his goals high and with much help from his country and members of the international community, the state of the art tennis facility was constructed. Mitchelle plans to keep the program as a
non-profit organization with all proceeds being donated to the Anguillian children.
Mr. Lake is truly an exceptional human being whose relentless devotion to his country is doing much for Anguilla's youth. He has been quoted as saying, "My life is what it is today because of tennis and all I want to do now is give back so that other young people can have similar experiences like mine. The Anguilla Tennis Academy is my lifelong dream and I am proud of the children and other Anguillians for supporting me in this worthwhile endeavor. The cause is greater than the cost and for that reason this project must be done.”