Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown today attended the celebration and closing ceremony of the Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Inc. ‘Love to Serve’ summer tennis camp season. The camp took place at the McMillan Tennis Courts at Delaware Park over the past six weeks. Buffalo PAL and certified coaches with the United States Tennis Association taught participants, ages seven to seventeen, the basics of the game of tennis, with hopes of fostering a better appreciation for the sport.
“Congratulations to all of those who participated in this year’s ‘Love to Serve’ Tennis Camp,” said Mayor Brown. “The 2022 season was especially successful due to grant funding and sponsorship support that came from The United States Tennis Association, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, Delaware North, and The Northland Workforce Training Center. Once again, our campers challenged themselves as athletes, gained confidence, and spent time being active outside. Natalie Lewis would have been proud of the sportsmanship and kindness displayed by every tennis student who took part in the camp this summer season.”
At today’s celebration and closing ceremony, Mayor Brown was joined by the family of the late Natalie Lewis, who participated in Mayor Brown’s Summer Youth Internship and Employment program as a PAL tennis coach. Mayor Brown renamed the camp in Natalie’s memory after she died tragically in a hot air balloon crash in 2014. According to those who knew her best, Natalie was devoted to serving the youth in her care, always with a huge smile and a wonderful attitude. She was a fantastic role model for others, including the other interns who worked with Natalie at the tennis courts on Nottingham as part of PAL’s summer tennis camp.
“As a longstanding partner of PAL, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is especially proud to support the Love to Serve Tennis Camp. We have a special relationship to this Camp because Natalie Lewis was both an intern for our health plan and a Camp Counselor. This program honors her memory and reinforces the important work that PAL does for our community,” said Michael Ball, Vice President, Community Affairs, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.
In addition to participating in a meaningful awards ceremony, each camper received lunch in the form of a personal pizza from Mister Pizza and fun giveaways from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. This year, Dr. Michael J. Edbauer, President of Highmark Western and Northeastern New York attended the event. The Highmark Cruiser was also on site conducting fun giveaways for all of the Tennis Camp students.
“The PAL ‘Love to Serve’ Tennis program through Buffalo PAL provides an ideal introduction to youth tennis and allows those just starting out to enjoy the game in a safe, engaging, and fun environment, with trained instructors who love the game! We were excited to work with City youth this summer once again who completed the 6-week tennis program,” said Nekia Kemp, Executive Director of Buffalo PAL.
In addition to the tennis program, Buffalo PAL held a number of safe outdoor athletic and educational programs throughout the summer. Buffalo PAL Bike Helmet giveaways for City of Buffalo youth, and Backpack Giveaways for students who are enrolled in educational summer camp programs, are also taking place this summer.