2008 Public Park of the Year: Roswell Park & Rec
As a public facility, the mission of the Roswell Recreation and Parks Department in Roswell, Ga., is to offer recreation opportunities for all the city’s residents. From a tennis standpoint, every age group is covered.
“The Roswell Recreation and Parks Department has a well-rounded offering of tennis programming for youth and adults,” says Karen Ford, national manager of USTA Tennis in the Parks. For that reason, it’s not surprising that the organization, which was selected as the 2007 USTA Georgia Park and Recreation Department of the Year, has earned another honor: RSI’s 2008 Public Park of the Year.
Beginning with Pee Wee tennis for ages 5 and 6, juniors traditionally have progressed through a series of instruction-based levels offered by the Roswell Recreation and Parks Department. The organization is quick to embrace new opportunities, however, becoming one of the few park and rec agencies organizing USTA Jr. Team Tennis using the QuickStart Tennis format.
Today, parallel tracks exist for juniors in traditional clinics, as well as those whose parents provide on-court coaching support for the QuickStart team concept. While he believes the QuickStart approach is more fun for kids, recreation/tennis supervisor Scott Laakso says maintaining both offerings is important in satisfying the needs of the community.
The QuickStart format has become so popular, however, that the organization recently put down permanent QuickStart lines on eight public courts. Not only is it a time-saver over using temporary tape, but Laakso says the juniors feel prideful ownership in playing on courts that have been specialized for their brand of tennis.
“The kids love it,” Laakso says. “For us, it’s all about making sure the kids have a good time so they continue playing.”
- Make it easy. At the Roswell park and rec, players are provided with a racquet, ball, T-shirt, junior USTA membership, and paid entry fee into the local tennis league.
- Family affair. Roswell offers multiple opportunities for children and parents to learn together.
- A park and rec is at risk of losing players to its competing sports programs. Introduce kids to having fun on court, however, and you may see the beginning of a lifelong love of the game.
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of RSI magazine.