Miss Valley serves community engagement with youth tennis workshops

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PORTSMOUTH—Miss Valley, Miracle Sammons, takes on outreach to young people one service at a time with her community service platform titled ‘Serving Up Fun, Set for a Lifetime’.

Sammons enjoyed playing tennis as a hobby, but learning the long-term benefits of being involved in the sport from an early age led her to bring her passion to local youth as a community service platform for her candidacy for Miss River Days.

“I chose tennis because tennis isn’t seen much in Scioto County. I wanted to bring something new and exciting to the kids and show them something that can really help them financially They actually say that more than half of all young tennis players maintain an A average in school and 80% of them say they plan to go to college I feel like if you start them young, they can use it. It has a lot to do with math, and the strategy and health benefits are amazing too,” Sammons said.

Sammons has been dedicated to bringing the sport to local youth through a series of weekly tennis clinics she has hosted during National Tennis Month in May 2022. The most recent clinic, held on June 5, was designed to provide fun for players of different ages and skill levels.

“Today what we do is a tennis carnival. We try to incorporate tennis in all kinds of ways. In the last three clinics we’ve been doing drills and things like that, so we have decided to organize a carnival since it is summer and [the children] want to have fun,” Sammons said.

A tennis ball hoops toss, tennis ‘bowling’, tennis dodge ball and ring toss game awaited the kids, along with goody bags and a personalized photo to commemorate their time in the tennis camp.

For Sammons, the number of children who have come to take advantage of his tennis clinics is humbling. She shared that since their first clinic in early May, she and her team of supporters have helped welcome over 100 children ranging in age from 1st to 8th grade into their tennis camp.

“I loved doing this with [the children] Everytime. I think it’s been really exciting, fun and I really love seeing all of their smiles when they hit the ball over the net. They know the service line, the singles line, the doubles, and I love that they got to learn that,” Sammons said.

Sammons believes her passion for bringing tennis to school-aged children won’t end when the Miss River Days pageant ends in September. Rather, for her, it is a form of community activism that she believes will continue in the future.

“I think even if I don’t win and I’m not crowned Miss River Days on September 3rd, at least I can say I did that, that’s what I brought to our community, and that’s what I will continue to bring. Even after my Miss Valley trip, and maybe my Miss River Days trip, I still plan to have tennis clinics for these kids. They love it, I love it, they may be able to learn and I think ultimately that’s what it should be about,” Sammons said.

As Sammons looks to the future, she can’t help but consider everything her time as Miss Valley has taught her about herself, her platform, and the community she serves.

“What this taught me about my community is to be patient. I thought I knew everything about tennis, [but] it really taught me that I can learn so much from what [the children] you have to teach me. And I think that’s just amazing,” she explained.

As Sammons River Days’ journey only accelerates, she hasn’t lost sight of how grateful she is for the support of her family, competition team, friends and community. His grandmother, Karen Smith, passed on her love of tennis throughout her life, transforming what was once a family pastime into something children from across the community can enjoy together.

“I love all the support I get not only from them, but also from my community. It’s amazing how much people care. It makes me really proud to be able to represent them as Miss Valley,” Sammons said.

Follow Miss Valley, Miracle Sammons, and other Miss River Days contestants online at friendsofportsmouth.com/river-days-festival. The Portsmouth River Days Festival will take place from September 2-4, 2022.

Miss Valley, Miracle Sammons (pictured L), poses with her family before the start of the Tennis Carnival. She credits her grandmother, Karen Smith (pictured R), with instilling an interest in tennis that inspired her community service platform.

Sammons (picture C) meets with attendees of his tennis clinic. Sammons and her team estimate that around 100 children have learned life skills at these clinics that she hopes will positively shape their development.

Contact Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or by email at [email protected]

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