Over a dozen local pickleball players joined Huntertown Family Park president, Dan Holmes, and several board members to receive a special gift earlier this week. Dave and Julie Thieme awarded the Park a $10,000 grant towards the building of four pickleball courts on behalf of the Thieme Family Foundation.
Dave and Julie are former residents of Huntertown who found out about pickleball activities in our area from their own involvement in the sport in Florida. The Theime Family Foundation promotes family activities in the Allen County area, particularly those that are sports-oriented. Dave is an Ambassador for Pickleball Rocks and is a Certified IPTPA Instructor. He shared the many benefits of the game, including connecting people of all ages while satisfying current social distancing requirements.
“It’s so much fun and exercise too. The social aspect, being a fun game, and exercise all rolled into one.” Dave said “It’s great for kids with the team aspect too.”
Local player, Bruce Hartman, mentioned that kids camps are available and that some schools even invite instructors to provide segments on pickleball in their physical education programs.
About a dozen players who practice, play and compete at the indoor courts of Lifehouse Church were present to cheer the launch of the courts project at the Huntertown Family Park. Sherry Karst serves as a local enthusiast for the sport, estimating that over 400 participants play and compete at the indoor courts at Lifehouse Church in Huntertown. Dave Thieme expected that the outdoor courts at the park could potentially be utilized year-round “as long as there is no snow on the ground. The courts will be constructed of concrete, further adding to their durability.
In a brief ceremony on Oct. 11, Holmes introduced everyone to the history of the park and received the $10,000 check from Dave and Julie amidst cheers from everyone. Julie climbed up a ladder to reach the top of the custom-made pillar to fill it to the $10,000 mark with bright orange pickleballs. The tube was marked off in increments of $10,000, all the way up to the estimated $50,000 needed to create four outdoor courts at the Park. Afterwards, local players were already brainstorming how to hold tournaments and other activities to help everyone reach the $50,000 goal and beyond.