In May and November of 2019, a few members of OULTC were lucky enough to go along to two KEEN Oxford allsorts sessions to run some tennis sessions. KEEN is an amazing charity that runs lots of events and activities for groups that are otherwise often excluded, for example children and adults with learning/physical disabilities. Their allsorts programme consists of 2 Saturday afternoon sessions, the first for participants aged 4-12, and the second for those aged 13-25. The participants are split into groups, and each group then rotates around the different activities on offer at that particular session.
Allsorts sessions also always begin with a game of Duck Duck Goose and end with the Hokey Cokey, which is a lot of fun! The first session we went to was held at New College Sports Ground, where we all really enjoyed being outdoors in the sun. The Oxford Sirens, the university cheerleading squad, were also there, running cheerleading workshops as one of the 3 activities on offer (we even got the chance to have a go at cheerleading ourselves - thank you to the Sirens for your great teaching, and apologies for our not-so-great cheerleading abilities!).
The second session was held at Blackbird Leys Community Centre, as unfortunately it was a bit too cold and rainy to be held outdoors. For the allsorts sessions that we went to, the group of OULTC volunteers split into two groups. Half of us led the tennis sessions, in which we ran some hitting drills and played lots of fun games like the traffic lights game (where we had to balance the ball on our racquets whilst walking and running around), open the gates, and jail.
In order to cater for the varying levels of abilities, occasionally one of us would work separately with one or two people, running individual rallying sessions or sometimes just playing throw and catch. The other half of us were session buddies, which meant that we were each paired up with one participant, who we would then be with for the whole session - going to each event that they did and doing the activities with them, chatting to and getting to know them, and helping them with anything they were finding tricky. After the session with the younger age group, the session buddies group and tennis coaching group switched roles, so we all got a chance to be a session buddy and also run the tennis activities.
We all had such a great time volunteering for KEEN, meeting such wonderful and lovely people - volunteers and participants alike - and making friends through playing sport together. I can’t recommend volunteering for KEEN enough, whether it be with OULTC or just by yourself as a session buddy - they run allsorts (and lots of other activities) weekly and are always KEEN (sorry) to have more volunteers!