Maria Mata, director of Armonk Tennis Club's summer camps, said the eight-week programs offer a variety of different activities for children from 3 to 10 years old. The summer also provides variety for Mata, who is a fourth-grade teacher in Connecticut during the school year.
”It is different from what I do the rest of the year,” said Mata, who has been a member of the camp staff for more than a decade. “I enjoy the outdoors and watching the children develop in a different environment than the school setting.”
Mata said she also enjoys the contrast between her fourth graders and working with younger children in the summer.
At Armonk Tennis children can participate from one to eight weeks in camp groups that are broken down by age. In addition to the explorers and pioneers programs, which feature a little bit of everything, there are multi-sport and mad science programs that put an extra focus on sports and science respectively. Children can also participate in the club’s tennis camp, which is run under separate direction.
Mata said there is a maximum of 18 children per counselor and two assistants, and each activity during the day is run by a specialist. “If they go to art we have an art teacher,” Mata said. "The job of counselors and assistants is to be with the children all day long.”
It's a job that Mata said she takes a great deal of pride in. “People always compliment our staff,” she said. Mata added that many staff members return to the camp year after year, giving it a family feel. “The staff gets very invested with the kids.” She cited one counselor who began at the age of 14 and is now getting his master’s degree. “He keeps coming back,” she said.
The mother of four grown children, Mata said her job is constantly evolving. “I love my job. I never get bored," she said. "It changes constantly, so it is good.”