Marge Bowder takes a swing at the McNary High School tennis courts. (Submitted Photo)

For the Keizertimes

How many of us know any sports enthusiasts who are 90 years old and still playing?  Well, in the game of tennis, playing at 90 is still possible and Marge Bowder is here to prove that point.

Bowder and the Keizer Tennis Association have one goal in mind – give everyone who wants to play tennis the opportunity to do just that.

In Marge’s tennis career, she has taught over 500 kids how to play. To say she has a passion for the sport is an understatement – it still brings great joy to her life even though, because of recent health issues, she now watches more tennis than plays – but that’s OK with her.

A friend of Marge’s told her about the Keizer Tennis Association’s efforts to get new courts built at Claggett Creek Park, something she’s wanted to make happen for years. “The KTA should be congratulated on how much hard work they’ve put into this goal of building courts for Keizer,” she said.

Marge and the KTA are concerned that, of all the banners showing championships in the McNary gym, two have nothing on them at all – boys and girls tennis. They want to change that.

“The KTA needs the community’s support in this effort,” says Marge. “Getting behind the KTA is a huge step towards getting those banners filled with championships for McNary’s tennis teams.”

The KTA offers summer camps for kids, including scholarships for those whose families can’t afford the $35 fee. Kaitlyn Murray, top 10 player in the US Tennis Association’s Pacific NW girl’s 18-and-under division, will be conducting their junior camps. Camps are held during the week, beginning July 9 through August 17 – and they are all held on McNary’s newly resurfaced courts.

The KTA is holding two fundraisers this summer to raise funds for the Claggett Creek Tennis Courts.

First, they are partnering with Silverton High School and the Silverton Chamber of Commerce and will run the Inaugural Homer Davenport Tennis tournament,  August 2-4, at Silverton High School to raise money for the Claggett Creek Tennis Courts and Silverton High School tennis teams.

Second, KTA will partner with the West Keizer Neighborhood Association during Making Keizer Better Foundation’s 5th annual RIVERfair celebration, Sat-urday, August 11, at Keizer Rapids Park via the “Dunk Your Favorite Keizer VIP” dunk tank contest. Prominent local celebrities have signed up to be dunked.  One half of the proceeds will go towards replacing the big toy structure at Willamette Manor Park and half of the proceeds will go towards the Claggett Creek Park Tennis Court Project.

The KTA is accepting pledges for the Claggett Creek Tennis courts and have raised $18,000 so far toward the tennis court project.

See the KTA’s website to sign up for camps or clinics or to download a pledge form for the new courts:

Greg Brewer, president of the KTA, hopes parents will give the gift of tennis to their children by signing them up for junior camps and pledging for new courts. Adults can register for lessons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. Brewer adds, “Our community and McNary’s tennis teams will benefit from having access to low-cost camps and clinics and, eventually, new courts. Tennis is fun and it can be fun your whole life – just ask Marge.”

You really don’t have to ask her – she’ll tell you anyway!

Barb Smith Henke is treasurer of the Keizer Tennis Association.