Austin College students and staff spent their Saturday giving back to the community as part of the monthly Roo Bound service day.


The Let’s Make a Racquet volunteer event was organized by the Austin College Service Station and hosted by players and coaches on the school’s tennis team. The event welcomed dozens of area youth to participate in a free afternoon tennis camp complete with relay races, agility exercises and a few extra trips beyond the fence for the highflying balls.


It’s a pretty service-oriented campus,” Austin College junior and Service Station volunteer Allie Armato said. “We have a lot of people come in and ask for opportunities. And the theme of Roo Bound changes every month, so this is what we came up with.”


Armato said she felt participating in the Roo Bound program made her more well-rounded as both a student and a person. Although she left the tennis exercises to the team, Armato said she was able to hone some new skills through her work on this month’s program.


“Before I always just helped out by providing the service,” Armato said. “This has actually been more about the planning, the management, the organization and the coordination.”


AC Head Tennis Coach Ryan Dodd said his players’ involvement in the service program was a way to return the favors once extended to them and benefit the community.


“All of these kids on the tennis team at one point didn’t know how to play the game,” Dodd said. “Along the way, they were afforded the opportunity to be involved in clinics, lessons and tournaments. So we wanted to make sure the Austin College community and tennis team taught these kids a new skill and gave them a chance to be athletes of the future.”


Despite having a competitive tournament later that afternoon, Dodd said his players were good sports and would be even better people after volunteering their time.


“They work hard enough with me on the court to be better athletes and that has shown with the growth and success of our program,” But the main focus out here is that they keep themselves grounded and become better ambassadors for Austin College and better people when they go out into the community and real world.”