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... stories, adventures and all things related to life in Singapore and Southeast Asia by AWA members

Pickleball Fever Has Hit the AWA!

Group Spotlight by Andrea McKenna Brankin

With up to four courts playing at three timeslots, the AWA’s’ new Pickleball group has really taken off! The game that was created in Seattle’s Bainbridge Island in the 1960s has taken the U.S. by storm, even supporting professional leagues with prize money! Played with paddles and a whiffle ball-type ball, it requires less vigorous movement than tennis and can be enjoyed by all levels of player. 

With that, AWA member Julie Samra—now the Pickleball Chair-- started efforts to launch the group for our Association with resounding success. Here’s how the group got started:


“Shortly after we moved to Singapore in December 2020, I met AWA member Noelle Speers who invited me to try pickleball at her condo tennis courts with some other ladies. From that moment on, I was hooked! 

“Last year I wanted to set up something more formal with the AWA as I knew it would be popular. I connected with Paige Wilkinson who was working with me tirelessly to get pickleball lessons with a proper coach off the ground. But it just never happened as there were so many issues with finding a venue. So, AWA Board’s Sports Chair Tania Jean suggested we just get a WhatsApp group going for AWA Pickleball and beginning of November 2023 we officially started, and the fun hasn’t stopped since!"


“I think it’s becoming more popular EVERYWHERE! And timing is everything. I’ve been talking about starting an AWA Pickleball group for about a year now, but interest has absolutely picked up recently. I think it’s a combination of word of mouth (we honestly just have so much fun out there!) and FOMO - no one wants to be left out! Pickleball attracts people who are current or former tennis players as well as people who have never even held a paddle before. It’s a great game to play even if you’ve never tried any racquet sports before."


“Once Noelle taught me how to play in 2021, I was all in! I played with her group for a long time but due to travel schedules and Covid restrictions it was inconsistent. So, when I would go visit my family in Miami, I started taking pickleball lessons and getting my family to play with me. Now we all love it!"


“Lessons are absolutely on the horizon. I’m in touch with the owners of MBP Sports to see if we can get some lessons for those that want them. I’m hoping to grow this group (slowly but surely) so we have lessons for beginners, tournaments for those that are more competitive and everything in between.”


If you want to give it a try and join the group for a session, you need to log into the AWA website ( and then find Pickleball under the Sports tab. Then you can send a request to join the WhatsApp group where all the games are organized. There is a $7 fee per pax for each hour and usually the ladies share rackets that we own, though you can rent one at the facility if needed. Playing times are 8-9 am, 9-10 am and 10-11 am. If you want, you can sign up to play more than one hour.


Besides being a mental health advocate and chair of the AWA Listen Ladies Group, Andrea is also an AWA board member and Special Interest Group chair.


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AWA members are women who come from many countries and life experiences but they all have one thing in common — they have chosen to live in Singapore. Some members are new to Singapore,  while some have been here a long time or have returned to Singapore after time away. Our magazine - written and curated by AWA members - focuses on a diverse range of topics including wellness and family, travel tips, cultural events and information, and other helpful tips around navigating and experiencing life in Singapore to it's fullest. 

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