USTA Section of the Year: USTA Northern California
The USTA Northern California Section boasts a strong commitment to getting the tennis message to youngsters. The section has about 7,500 players in 10 and Under Tennis programming, and it continues to grow.
Executive Director Steve Leube praises both the Youth Tennis initiative and the NorCal staff for moving the dial. “You take an 8-year-old and put him on a 36-foot court with the right-sized racquet and ball, and they’re successful — and they have fun,” he says.
Of course, NorCal, with about 37,500 adult, 12,500 junior and 400 organizational members, does much more than promote Youth Tennis. But this initiative is so important to the industry — and it’s a driving force behind RSI’s USTA Section of the Year winner.
Alison Vidal, NorCal’s Tennis Service Rep account manager, and the section’s nine TSRs bring tennis to communities, including to the Girls Scouts in Northern California, reaching more than 100,000 scouts. “Every time a scout participates in one of the section’s events, they earn a patch, which is a huge deal,” Vidal notes.
NorCal also works with about 20 PAL organizations, training and equipping police volunteers and staff in Youth Tennis programming. “Police welcome a program like this that’s exciting for kids and keeps them engaged,” Vidal says. Many of the thousands of kids would never be exposed to tennis otherwise, and are now maintaining regular physical activity. NorCal’s ultimate goal is to develop Play Days, then establish leagues.
Fred McCasland, the area director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, couldn’t be happier. “If it weren’t for USTA NorCal, the kids would never have been exposed to tennis. It increases their fitness and gives them lessons in teamwork.”
Tips for Success
- Focus on collaboration and great teamwork within the staff.
- Be open-minded, creative and think outside the box to promote the idea that tennis can be played anywhere.
- Stay focused on the mission of promoting and developing the growth of tennis as an inclusive and lifelong activity.
See all articles by Cynthia Sherman
About the Author
Cynthia Sherman is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.