PORTSMOUTH—Miss Valley, Miracle Sammons, is taking on youth outreach one serve at a time with her community service platform entitled, “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 a young age moved her to bring her passion to local youth as her community service platform for her Miss River Days candidacy.
“I chose tennis because tennis isn’t seen much in Scioto County. I wanted to bring in something that is new to kids, exciting, and to show them something that will really be able to help them academically in school. They actually say that over half of all youth tennis players maintain an A average in school and that 80 percent of them say that they plan to attend college. I feel like if you start them young, they’ll be able to use that. It has a lot to do with math, and strategy and the health benefits are so amazing as well,” Sammons said.
Sammons dedicated herself to bringing the sport to area youth through a series of weekly tennis clinics she hosted over the course of National Tennis Month back in May of 2022. The most recent clinic, which was held on June 5, was designed to offer fun for players of varying ages and ability levels.
“Today what we are doing is a tennis carnival. We try to incorporate tennis in all kinds of ways. The past three clinics we have been doing drills and things like that, so we decided to come up with a carnival since it’s summer and [the children] want to have some fun,” said Sammons.
A tennis ball basket toss, tennis “bowling,” tennis dodgeball, and a ring toss game awaited the children, along with treat bags and a personalized photo to commemorate their time spent in the tennis camp.
For Sammons, the number of children who have come to enjoy her tennis clinics is humbling. She shared that from their first clinic in early May, she and her team of supporters helped welcome around 100 children varying in age from 1st to 8th grade to their tennis camp.
“I have loved doing this with [the children] every single time. 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, doubles, and I love that they have been able to learn this,” said Sammons.
Sammons believes that her passion for bringing tennis to school age children will not come to an end when the Miss River Days Pageant concludes in September. Rather, it’s a form of community activism for her which she sees continuing well into the future.
“I think that even if I don’t win and don’t get crowned as Miss River Days on September 3, at least I can say that I did this, this is what I brought to our community, and this is what I’ll continue to bring. Even after my Miss Valley journey, and possibly my Miss River Days journey, I still plan to have these kids’ tennis clinics. They love it, I love it, they can be able to learn and I think ultimately, that’s what it should be about,” said Sammons.
As Sammons looks toward the future, she can’t help but consider all that her time as Miss Valley has taught her about herself, her platform, and the community she serves.
“The thing it has taught me about my community is that you’ve got to be patient. I thought I knew everything about tennis, [but] it’s really taught me that I can learn so much from what [the children] have to teach me. And I think that that is just amazing,” she explained.
While Sammons’ River Days journey only continues to accelerate, she hasn’t lost sight of how grateful she is for support from her family, pageant team, friends and community. Her grandmother, Karen Smith, passed down a lifelong love of tennis, bringing what was once a family hobby full circle into something that children throughout the community can enjoy together.
“I love all the support I get not only from them but from my community. It’s amazing to see how much people care. It makes me really proud that I can be able to be their representative as Miss Valley,” Sammons said.
Follow Miss Valley, Miracle Sammons, as well as the other Miss River Days candidates online at friendsofportsmouth.com/river-days-festival. The Portsmouth River Days Festival will take place from September 2nd through September 4, 2022.
Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or by email at [email protected]
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