USTA NorCal News

USTA Community Partnerships Expand to Youth Organizations

The official USTA NorCal Girl Scouts Tennis Activity Patch.
The official USTA Boy Scouts Activity Patch.
2011 is a record year for junior USTA memberships in Northern California, reaching the 13,000 mark for the first time ever, due to new community partnerships. USTA NorCal is proud to be collaborating with the Girls Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Police Athletic Leagues and Schools to bring tennis into their youth programs. These organizations all recognize the importance of physical activity for their kids and welcome USTA assistance with programming.
Under the direction of Account Manager, Alison Vidal, the nine USTA NorCal Tennis Service Representatives (TSRs) located throughout the section, are reaching out to well-established, national organizations that have their infrastructure in place but aren’t yet offering tennis. Vidal said, "We share the same goals of providing skills to develop strong, healthy individuals, supporting diversity and outreach and we focus on fun!" She added, "It’s a win-win, as these organizations have the 10 and under audience and we at USTA, have the programs."
Ten and Under Tennis Play Days are the perfect format for organizations to introduce their kids to tennis. Two to three hours of fun tennis activities with age appropriate equipment is just enough time for the kids to experience success and leave wanting more. USTA NorCal will be hosting numerous Play Days with these organizations with the option of forming team tennis leagues and possibly tournament play.
Partnerships with Girls Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs and Police Athletic Leagues (PAL) have formed organically; TSRs plant the seed in one council or chapter then working as a team, use that first success to gather interest in chapters all over Northern California. Vidal said, "TSR Hilary Somers first contacted the Girl Scouts of San Jose in June. They had their first Play Day last night with over 100 girls attending.  We have 16 Play Days scheduled this fall and over 600 Girl Scouts, Daisy’s, Brownies and Juniors, will earn their custom USTA Tennis Participation Patch."
Reviews are in from the first Girl Scouts Play Days and according to the girls themselves, it was "fantastic!"  Maureen Gibson, Outreach Supervisor for Girl Scouts Heart of Central California said, "It’s been a pleasure getting to know USTA's Marian Thomson, working with her and watching her work with my girls. But most of all, I’d like to thank her for bringing the world of tennis to my girls in San Joaquin County."  She added, "I would recommend this event to anyone looking to offer a fun activity that involves physical fitness."
Girl Scouts at ClubSport Valley Vista, Walnut Creek
On Friday evening, October 14th, at ClubSport Valley Vista in Walnut Creek, 72 excited Girl Scouts earned their Tennis Activity patch, became new USTA junior members and new tennis players!
San Francisco TSR, Christine Ferry was the first to connect with the Boys and Girls Clubs at their Hunters Point location. The Willie Mays Clubhouse is very progressive, open to new ideas and programs that can be introduced to their kids and the surrounding community. Concerned with health and fitness, they were one of the first to ban junk food from their site and to introduce organic gardening. USTA shares their goal of keeping kids fit into adulthood; the lifetime sport of tennis is a perfect fit.
Jake Babick, Athletic Director for the Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club, loved the idea of forming a tennis team at his club. The next logical step was to form teams at the other 8 Boys and Girls Clubs in San Francisco so the clubhouse teams can play each other in a league and host tournaments. The partnership in San Francisco has opened the door to Boys and Girls Clubs all over Northern California.
The partnership with the Police Athletic Leagues began in August by TSR Jennifer Castle contacting the Citrus Heights School Resource Officer.  USTA's Castle, Ferry and Vidal were invited to make a presentation to the PAL board, with the mayor and city council in attendance.  The response was overwhelmingly positive to add a series of Tennis Play Days to the PAL program leading to a Citrus Heights PAL tennis league.
California PAL is making a difference in the lives of kids with their primary goal of reducing juvenile crime and gang involvement throughout the state. Adding tennis reinforces their goal of offering a wide variety of programs for their local PAL kids to participate, compete, learn and be enlightened in a safe and supervised environment. 
Despite overwhelming evidence that exercise helps promote health and cognitive development, physical education has become increasingly irrelevant in schools. Lack of funding and pressure to improve standardized test scores has contributed to a lack of meaningful exercise in the schools. USTA believes that physical education and exercise are critical in promoting and developing a child’s health and well-being both in and out of the classroom. In Northern California, USTA has an enthusiastic team of School Trainers ready to go wherever called with curriculum, modified equipment and portable courts that allow for tennis play in any environment.
All of the participants age 10 and under receive a new 1 year USTA Junior Membership which gives them access to USTA sanctioned Junior Team Tennis leagues and tournaments. They also receive the quarterly Bounce magazine with tips and activities so they can continue to grow and develop their game.
If you would like to see tennis added to your child’s Boys and Girls Club, Police Athletic League, school or scout troop contact the USTA Tennis Service Representative for your community. They can also connect you to any of these organizations that are already offering tennis as part of their program.
Tennis Play Days are offered at sites all over Northern California, with new dates added weekly.  Check the current schedule!



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