Kelowna, BC – Turner Simpson, a grade 10 student at Immaculata High in Kelowna, BC has taken growing the sport that he loves into his own hands. The teenage athlete is currently raising funds and collecting new and gently used tennis equipment from around the province with the goal of introducing tennis programs at St. Joseph Catholic Elementary in Kelowna.
Turner first began playing tennis in Newfoundland when his mother, Jenny, introduced him to the sport. In 2016, the Simpson family moved to the interior of BC. The family now plays at Lakeview Heights in the summer, while Turner also trains at Global Fitness and Racquet Centre in the winter with Coach Joachim Nierfeld. “We are so lucky to have him here. He is an incredible role model for my kid,” shared Jenny about her experience with Coach Joachim. In addition to his position at Global Fitness, Joachim is also the Tennis Court Operations Manager at the new Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon and the Tennis BC Regional Manager for the Okanagan.
Since living in Kelowna, Turner’s high school tennis team has been doing exceptionally well, finishing third and fourth in the BC Provincial Championships in recent years. Turner is eager to maintain his team’s long-term success and realizes that without younger kids playing tennis in elementary schools today, his high school team’s success and depth may be at stake. This has inspired Turner to put rackets in the hands of elementary school kids.
Turner recognizes that in order to have a strong high school team in the future, there must be more kids playing tennis at St. Joseph Elementary (the school that feeds into Immaculata High) and throughout the Kelowna area. Turner’s solution is to begin a school program at St. Joseph Elementary. Making use of the school’s gymnasium, progressive tennis equipment and TPA-certified coaches, Turner wants to help St. Joseph Elementary integrate tennis into the school’s annual physical education curriculum.
Turner has already approached the school’s principal, who loves his idea and is eager to help make a school tennis program a reality at St. Joseph Elementary. Turner’s older brother, Hayden Simpson, is a TPA-certified coach and has agreed to volunteer his time for the program. Thus far, Turner has raised $110.00 which will go towards equipment costs, including progressive tennis nets and red dot balls.
Meanwhile, at his own high school, Turner has started a collection of used adult–sized tennis racquets for the Immaculata High School tennis team and for any students that are interested in learning to play. He has collected five rackets and has donated them to the school’s gym program. At Immaculata High, there are two outdoor courts for students to use.
What started as a way to keep one high school tennis team viable has turned into something much bigger. Through his efforts, Turner is growing the game of tennis and paving the way for not just the kids today to have the opportunity to play, but paving the way for a new school program to be established.
“I’m so proud of him giving back and helping,” said his mother.
We love hearing about the amazing, innovative and passionate tennis players in our community, and we love finding ways to support their projects and efforts. The more ambassadors spreading their message of tennis throughout the province, the more people will have an opportunity to learn a sport for a lifetime. Tennis BC is donating 20 rackets, 2 progressive tennis nets and 2 cases of red balls to support Turner’s efforts in starting a school program at St. Joseph Elementary.
Our Director of Community, Jeannie Rohr, who manages Tennis BC’s tennis for schools program, will also guide Turner in his endeavor to bring tennis to more kids in Kelowna.
Turner is now seeing the bigger picture of what he has created and where this can go. Five years from now, Turner would love to see this program expand to more schools in Kelowna, and across the Okanagan region.
We can all help support Turner’s cause. Turner is still in need of more rackets, including progressive tennis rackets, and funds to purchase red dot balls and progressive tennis nets. You can reach out to Turner yourself at TurnerWillSimpson@gmail.com. For more information or questions about tennis in the Interior of BC, please reach out to our Tennis BC Regional Manager of the Interior, Joachim Nierfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org.