Tennis Industry magazine

 

Grassroots Tennis: Play It Forward!

CTAs, public parks, schools and NJTLs are on the front lines when it comes to growing our sport in communities.

Northern: SPUT Revitalizes City Recreation Center

Since 1991, Saint Paul Urban Tennis has been providing youth and adult tennis programs for St. Paul, Minn., and the surrounding communities. Now, SPUT has a new home, the Eastview Recreational Center.

“I couldn’t be happier that Saint Paul Urban Tennis has chosen Eastview as headquarters for its phenomenal youth programming, which combines tennis, educational enrichment and leadership training for 5- to 18-year-olds,” says St. Paul Councilmember Jane Prince. “Reopening Eastview will return a vital community resource to East Side kids.”

SPUT will assume management of the facility. The organization had been located at Griggs Recreation Center, but decided to pursue an opening at Eastview because it offers more amenities to incorporate into SPUT programming. St. Paul Parks and Rec will provide staff to support programming.

“The success of our program is due in large part to the partnerships we have established,” says SPUT Executive Director Becky Cantellano. “The City of St. Paul has been vital in helping us transform the lives of youth through the game of tennis.”

— Lisa Mushett

Southern: Leading the Charge for Beginners

Often, heroes overcome great odds or challenges. At other times, heroes see an opportunity to further the sport of tennis and make it happen. That type of hero is Nan Smith of Columbia, S.C., who recently received the USTA Southern Gerrie Rothwell Award, given annually to a top USTA League volunteer, and the USTA South Carolina Lucy Garvin Volunteer of the Year Award.

Smith’s goal is simple: Get more people on the court. With her boundless energy, she greatly expanded the “Tennis Apprentice” program in Columbia, bringing at least 200 new people into the game and prompting the neighboring Lexington Area Tennis Association to follow her example. Tennis Apprentice is a section program in which a coach teaches group lessons to beginners once a week for six weeks and offers a racquet and USTA membership for nominal cost.

Smith has Tennis Apprentice running all over the city, adding five programs in 2017 alone. She likes to attend the first session of each class and personally hand out racquets. Six weeks later, she returns with gifts of backpacks, cans of balls and information to get the players on the road to a lifetime of tennis.

— Ron Cioffi

 

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