There’s a new game in town that will have kids at this summer’s Camp Rise Up dinking around the campus in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
Dinking, you say? That’s just one of the terms (and shots) campers will learn when they pick up their paddles and jump on the pickleball bandwagon, the sports craze that’s sweeping the nation.
Now, thanks to the prowess of Floating Hospital adviser Richard Porter, who is also founder of InPickleball magazine, health educators running the camp have been trained to dink, chop, flabjack and falafel so they can teach kids the same.
A member of The Floating Hospital’s marketing committee, Porter first got the idea after a presentation on the clinic’s work in Social Determinants of Health, which includes exercise and recreation as a pillar of wellbeing. With the game’s ease of entry, he saw the opportunity to mingle sport, philanthropy and a hot trend.
“Pickleball is really part of cultural zeitgeist,” he says, adding the game is “great for our kids” because “they’re not left out” of a sport they can’t afford.
Unlike expensive sports that come with a hefty price tag for gear, coaches and court time, pickleball requires no more than a paddle, a Wiffle-like ball and a pair of sneakers. And though there are official pickleball courts, kids can DIY the 40 x 20-foot space needed to play on pretty much any flat surface, in or outdoors. Even the net doesn’t have to be an actual net—it can be a chalk line or a string. And, because the rules dictate that players stay 7 feet away from the net, or line, it’s perfect for social distancing.