Tennis & Life Camps

Dear TLC Supporter,

Has your life, or the life of someone you know, been changed by a wonderful experience at TLC? Would you be willing to pass on this opportunity to financially needy youth or family member who otherwise could not attend? If so, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Tennis & Life Camps at Gustavus.


We are currently accepting donations for the TLC 40-Love Campaign! To celebrate the past 40 years of Tennis & Life Camps and to secure our future for the next 40 years (and beyond), our goal is to raise the following $4 million in 40 months, beginning October 2016:

  • TLC Endowed Scholarships
    • We will raise $2.5 million to ensure that at least 200 fully endowed scholarships are created to assist families who would not otherwise be able to afford the cost of camp. These include scholarships for our vibrant summer camps and our intimate winter retreat camps, which bring urban and rural junior high players and chaperones together to have a dialogue on race, gender, religious diversity, and diverse family structure; to introduce students to the opportunities and benefits of a college education.

  • The Wilkinson Tennis Complex Renovation Fund*
    • We will raise $500,000 to replace the Swanson Tennis Center bubble and to remodel the inside lobby, all of the classrooms, and the public spaces of the tennis center. When the fundraising and remodel are complete, all Gustavus tennis facilities--including the Brown and Gibbs outdoor courts, Swanson indoor courts, and any future tennis courts--will be named the Wilkinson Tennis Complex.
  • The Wilkinson Legacy Endowment*
    • We will raise $1 million to help fulfill Steve Wilkinson's dream to continually upgrade Gustavus' first-class tennis facilities. This endowment will provide an annual spending allowance for court maintenance, upgrades, facility expansion, and to build a "rain day fund" in case of any unforeseen emergencies in the future.

The Donation page gives four options for donating:

  • I want to designate my gift for Tennis & Life Camps. By choosing this option, your donation will be used towards the area of greatest need at TLC, which may include current year scholarships, scholarship endowment fund, facilities maintenance, equipment donations, etc. *Please select this option if you wish to donate to The Wilkinson Tennis Complex Renovation Fund or The Wilkinson Legacy Endowment, and list your designation in the Donation Comments box.
  • I want to designate my gift for TLC Current Scholarships. Until we raise $2.5 million for our scholarship endowment, we use donations for current year scholarships to send campers to TLC in 2016. $615 will send one camper to TLC during the summer of 2020. $11,500 fully funds one of our winter retreat camps, and $5,750 funds half of a retreat camp.
  • I want to designate my gift for TLC Scholarship Endowment. Choosing this option places your donation into an endowment fund. The investment income from this fund goes toward providing scholarships to our campers each year. A gift of $25,000 allows for a named endowment fund for two scholarship campers to TLC per summer, while a donation of $12,500 endows one unnamed scholarship each summer. We are actively seeking a total of $2.5 million to endow 200 scholarship recipients each summer.
  • I want to designate my gift for the Annual Fund. This gift benefits Gustavus Adolphus College as a whole, but does not directly impact Tennis & Life Camps.

Gifts of stock and estate planning are welcome as tax-deductible donations. If you have questions, please email or call 507-933-8805.

If you decide you would like to give, please make your donation to:

Tennis & Life Camps
Gustavus Adolphus College
800 West College Ave.
Saint Peter, MN 56082

You will receive a receipt of your gift noting the tax deductible nature of the gift.

Thank you so much for keeping the vision alive! Please read on for more information about our new status.

Neal Hagberg, Director

Tennis & Life Camps (TLC) is a non-profit organization that seeks to develop in tennis players, of all ages and abilities, improved tennis skills and an enriched approach to life. We are organized for educational and charitable purposes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Through tax-deductible contributions we wish to open our doors wider to youth who cannot afford the price of a tennis camp. As youth from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds come together, they all experience differing viewpoints and an expanded vision of the world.

The fundamental mission of TLC centers on tennis education. We have outstanding tennis facilities and a superbly trained staff that have coached thousands of students from the beginner level to world ranked professionals. Coaches and tennis professionals who were trained at TLC and in the Gustavus tennis program dominate the upper Midwest. Our approach to teaching focuses on the positive things players are doing already and then building upon them. Instead of pointing out what they do wrong, we emphasize what they do well and what we want to see next. This accelerates the learning process, builds confidence, and improves motivation.

We also use tennis to promote civility, compassion, and mutual acceptance. We start with the teaching of concrete actions: learning names, saying thank you when complimented, making eye contact, complimenting your opponent’s shots, being fair with your line calls while not questioning others, making the decision as a team to reach out to the other team, encouraging parents to cheer for both their children’s and their opponent’s good shots, and remaining positive even during a lopsided defeat. These are the tools that allow campers to turn the theoretical into the practical and to see results in their game, their schoolwork, and their lives.

We challenge campers to continue using these tools at home. How are you treating your teachers, coaches, parents, children, spouses, and friends? How are you treating those with whom you disagree? How can you build bridges to those who believe differently from you by putting yourself in their shoes? Also we encourage campers to affirm service to others as the key to a fulfilled life. Conversely, focus on the self is ultimately unsatisfying.

TLC knows that maintaining a positive attitude through tragedy, difficulty, and losses is challenging. Both tennis and life are full of unfairness and disappointment. Yet obstacles can be overcome by focusing on the things within our control (attitude, effort, and sportsmanship) and letting go of the things outside our control (winning, playing well, and opponents’ actions). Using the Serenity Prayer daily is a powerful aid for staying positive. “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Please consider supporting our mission with a donation. A contribution to Tennis & Life Camps will permit youth, who otherwise could not afford camp, to experience outstanding tennis instruction and an enriched approach to life. Anyone contributing a full camp ($615) will receive a personal thank you letter from the award recipient.