For the second year in a row, CELC co-founder Melinda Alcosser curates a Carpe Dink’em Pickleball Vacation experience to the Dominican Republic, this time for about sixty pickleball players, from beginner to advanced level, in two separate weeks.  These “Punta Cana Picklers” enjoyed an all-inclusive resort stay at Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with daily pickleball instruction from the coaches who work with Melinda on these trips.  This time Michael and Daniela Niss, a.k.a the BlockNISS Monsters as they are known in the Delray Beach, Florida community graced the courts

The Niss’s teaching focuses on learning strategy and developing an understanding of the “whys” of the game. From shot selection to mechanics, participants consider how to properly face all types of opponents and how to neutralize them to one’s advantage. From serve to paddle tap, the goal of the week is to come away with greater awareness of how to construct one’s game and have fun playing! Michael Niss is also known as the Pickleball Whisperer, as he brings his students to a high level of discernment into how each point is played and considered.

Another element to Melinda’s group trips is her With Heart Travel component.  Bringing travelers outside of the resort for what Melinda terms a “giving exchange” to meet local people, build friendships, and to deepen the connection and understanding between travelers and those in destination.

In 2023, she initiated this With Heart relationship with the Calasanz Bavaro School in Punta Cana.  For these 2024 groups, Melinda and the Punta Cana Picklers once again joined with this school community.  Melinda transported and donated a pickleball net to the school, and group participants gifted paddles and pickleballs. The group was offered an opportunity to take part in a visit the school to meet and work with students.  About forty students, some of the teaching staff, along with some of the Punta Cana Picklers all became a team, working together to set up the court in an outdoor space at the school, using the portable net and a premeasured rope to lay chalk lines.  Students and staff were then introduced to the game and began to enjoy playing pickleball as a community.  The students spoke Spanish and some English, and communication was certainly part of the challenge at times, yet all were able to try something new together. This relationship with Calasanz Bavaro has grown over two years and will continue as Melinda brings more groups to Punta Cana in the future.

Melinda serves as a travel advisor and experience builder whose passion is to curate meaningful and memorable journeys that are designed to open hearts and minds and deepen connection with oneself and the world! To find out more about Carpe Dink’em Pickleball and With Heart Travel opportunities of all types, in destinations throughout the world, contact Melinda Alcosser at [email protected]

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