Advantage Cleveland: Where Tennis and Poetry Collide
Located in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland, 2022 marks the camp’s 13th summer in operation.
CLEVELAND — Advantage Cleveland is a summer tennis camp known for offering a myriad of youth programs each summer, but executive director Liz Deegan says their work extends far beyond the court.
“[Our campers] participate in five different components a day, and they alternate between tennis and fitness,” Deegan told us. “They have poetry, they have literacy, wellness, and STEM.”
Spoken poetry is taught by lead instructor and programming director Kelli Price, who says the class helps give many campers a much-needed outlet.
“Some of the things I teach in my class are fear, perspective, and change,” she explained. “Things that our students don’t get from the outside world – sometimes not even from their families, from their parents. Our students deal with adult issues on a daily basis, and that trauma follows them everywhere.
“These kids are trying to find an outlet, so in slam poetry we give them the proper outlet so they can take that anger, they can take that pain and make it into something beautiful.”
Located in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland, 2022 marks the camp’s 13th summer in operation. As director Charles Williams says, although it’s a tennis camp, the poetry class also makes a lasting impression on the kids.
“Public speaking is probably one of the hardest things to do,” Williams said. “We have kids performing in front of their parents, in front of other students. We’re talking about kids who come to camp shy, but leave here verbalizing their emotions and feelings.”
Twice a summer, the camp even hosts a poetry showcase, bringing in outside judges to listen to campers’ performances.
“A lot of these topics are new to them,” Price said, “so giving them the opportunity to not only talk about it, but also learn how to engage in situations and find new perspectives from people. other people, that’s been a big part of why I keep doing what I do.”