When Claudine Nduwimama, Facilitator of Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ Girls on the Go, surveyed the program’s 20 participants to find out what sports they wanted to try out, tennis was near the top of the list.

So on a sunny mid-August afternoon, the Girls on the Go gathered at the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club (OTLBC) to try their hand at the popular outdoor racket sport. Over the course of 1.5 hours, the girls, all of whom had arrived as refugees to Canada within the last year, were led through a series of exercises by OTLBC tennis pro Jennifer Byberg and her two assistants, Natalie Bossé and Bianca Ruiz. Each girl got to use the Best Tennis Racket, receive the best coaching, and have loads of fun learning the new sport.

According to Claudine, “It was amazing seeing the girls’ tennis skills improve so quickly and they had so much fun. There was a lot of laughter and smiles. At the end of the session, they wanted to know when we’d be returning to the tennis club again!”

CCI’s Girls on the Go program aims to encourage refugee girls and women, aged 14-24, to explore many different sports and recreational activities. With tennis the third most popular sport for newcomers here, and new Canadians leading our country’s tennis charge, there’s a good chance Girls on the Go will be back on the courts again soon.

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