Park & Rec Agency of the Year: Wash. D.C. Parks & Rec
There are more than 140 public tennis courts in Washington, D.C., which fall under the Tennis Division of the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR). Serving a population of 800,000, the DPR engages youngsters and adults of all ages, skill levels and economic levels in city-wide tennis programs, training opportunities and tennis events — all at little or no cost to participants. In addition, the DPR has a key partnership agreement with the local CTA, the Washington Tennis Association.
Through instructional programs, Play Days, tournaments, competitive leagues and social events, “DPR continues to offer optimal access to courts and play opportunities city-wide, along with convenient and affordable programming,” says Chris Miller, the marketing and communications manager for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. “DPR’s tennis program is committed to growing the sport.” And because it does it so well, Washington, D.C. Parks & Rec is TI’s Park and Rec Agency of the Year.
DPR Tennis Director Jeri Ingram credits the passion that her staff brings to grassroots tennis, citing as an example the “Tennis Under the Lights” summer program, which brought out juniors and adults twice a week to play and drill from 9 p.m. to midnight, and included a pot-luck diner. “Everyone loved it,” Ingram says. “Programs like these require passionate, dedicated employees to be successful.”
— Robin Bateman
Tips for success
- “Know your demographic area,” says Jeri Ingram, “then create programming designed to address their specific needs.”
- Grant writing and donations are an important part of the process.
- Cultivate partnerships. Washington Tennis Association Executive Director Ronnie Goodall says, “We have an excellent partnership with our Parks Department. Together we’ve been able to grow the game.”
See all articles by Robin Bateman
About the Author
Robin Bateman is the site coordinator for the Tattnall Tennis Center in Macon, Ga., where she coordinates tennis program and leagues, is a tournament director, serves as a team captain, and assists junior teams competing at district, regional, and section events.
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