Dream Season for 2.5 Team of Beginners

Well-being thanks to tennis was a key to success

Lifting the gate latch, Kristy walked onto the tennis court in Richmond, Va., for her very first USTA Mid-Atlantic League match. Never in her 40 years would she have expected to have arrived here. Her heart pounded with every step she took as she walked over to greet her doubles partner and opponents. She was so nervous and unsure what to expect. She had put the work in but did not know if it would pay off on her newly forged path as a 2.5 beginner league player. 

Kristy gave tennis a try because her young son decided he wanted to play and began learning the sport. 

“My 5-year-old son decided he wanted to try tennis and ended up loving it,” Kristy said.  “Seeing him enjoy the sport made me think it would be something fun for us to do together as he gets older.” 

Well-being thanks to tennis was a key to success on the court for this 2.5 team

She too began introductory lessons and made pretty good progress in her beginner’s group.  Soon after, Kristy was asked to join a 2.5 USTA League team in 2020. All of the women on the team were in the same boat, starting and learning the sport in their late 30s just like Kristy, and never playing in USTA League before. 

“I don’t know of any other sport that you can pick up later in life and pretty much play until you are well into your senior years. I truly feel like anyone can pick up a racquet and learn to play,” shared Kristy. 

The team was composed of people from all walks of life: doctors, lawyers, scientists, business owners, stay-at-home moms, all coming together and being put to the test during that fateful first USTA Mid-Atlantic League tennis match. 

Kristy won it decisively 6-1, 6-2 and remembers thinking to herself, “maybe I’ve got the hang of this now!” Her teammates thought similar thoughts having taken all three lines that day. 

But the dream season would have to wait – the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans and the season was cut short. 

“During the COVID shutdown, the outdoor courts at my club remained open and it seemed to be the one thing from ‘normal life’ I was able to keep doing,” expressed Kristy.

Tennis was becoming so much more of an important aspect of life for her than she could have imagined when she started her league tennis journey just a year prior. The well-being benefits of the sport emerged front and center, including social and emotional benefits. 

“As much as I love tennis, the social element has been one of my favorite benefits,” says Seredni. “Playing tennis, I have met so many exceptional ladies who I am now

lucky to call friends. Tennis has been the thing when you are having a rough day or week, you can always look forward to… I honestly can’t imagine my life now without tennis.”

Even though the 2020 season was short, Kristy and her team had 2021 in sight. 

Kristy commented, “we really started off as a group of strangers who very quickly became a tight-knit group of competitors. We were all so driven and excited and couldn’t wait to see what we could do. Our chemistry on the courts was off the charts and when we were off the courts we were celebrating births of babies, pregnancies, job promotions, really just supporting each other in life which I think was a huge part of why we were so successful.” 

Tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section brought them together and delivered on well-being benefits and connections on a deeper, social and emotional level.  

Well-being was key to tennis success for this 2.5 USTA Mid-Atlantic league team.

“Something just clicked,” Kristy recounted. “We all seemingly hit our stride at the same time going the entire 2021 League season never dropping a line.” 

This remarkable outcome for the FIRST full season of tennis for the team paved the way for a trip to USTA Mid-Atlantic Sectionals and all the way to the Championship match!  

Kristy’s team was crowned 2.5 Finalists in Mid-Atlantic for the Adult 18 & Over (.5) in 2021. A dream accomplishment many seasoned teams aspire to achieve. 

Thanks to USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis creating a deeper well-being in Kirsty and in her teammates’ lives, they succeeded more than they could have imagined. 

“This past year, really throwing myself into USTA tennis, has been so incredibly rewarding.  From success on the court to meeting new people and making new friends, I have really enjoyed every minute on the courts…Whether you are looking to play for fun or looking for a competitive league, I promise you there is a league for you. And for people thinking about donating, do it!  Watching juniors learn the sport and love playing it is so much fun!  There are so many things for these kids to learn on a tennis court that will translate to life skills.” 

No matter when you start or your level of experience with the game, you can gain the well-being benefits tennis provides. And with YOUR help we can make sure more people, especially those without access to tennis, experience the incredible benefits of the sport through a variety of tennis programs and services from the USTA Mid-Atlantic. 

Make a tax-deductible gift today to support tennis programs in the Mid-Atlantic region that create community, character, and well-being for all. 

Plan for a Brighter Future of Tennis

So more players across the region have the opportunity to love the sport as much as you. 

What is your favorite part about playing tennis? 

This question is not as simple as it sounds. One may answer with “how much time do you have” because if someone gets you started on tennis they may need to cancel their afternoon plans. 

Tennis creates well-being, help grow tennis in the Mid-Atlantic today!

One thing that we can all agree on is that there are many reasons we get out on the court. Tennis is a lifetime sport that unlocks many benefits for you physically, socially and emotionally. Playing tennis in the Mid-Atlantic enables you to create friendships that will last a lifetime, gets you physically fit, and can help reduce stress

Your love for tennis is everlasting. Now you have a chance to leave an everlasting impact and plan for a future of tennis for others to enjoy and love the sport long after you are gone. You can help continue to spread the love of tennis and make the sport accessible for all by showing your support to USTA Mid-Atlantic through planned giving and other gift arrangements.

Plus, now is a great time to plan for and prepare to leave your impact on Mid-Atlantic tennis because it is Estate Planning Week.

Every year, Estate Planning Week is celebrated as a way to promote financial wellness among all communities. The purpose of estate planning is to develop a strategy that will maintain the financial security of individuals throughout their lifetime and ensure the intended transfer of their property and assets to intended individuals or organizations. 

During Estate Planning Week you can review your current plans to ensure they are aligned and reflect any updates you want to make, including ways to give back to tennis through USTA Mid-Atlantic. If you haven’t started planning, this is a week you can take steps to move forward in that work and get your estate plans established. Wherever you are in the process of Estate Planning, there are ways you can leave a legacy for tennis and show your support for the sport you love through: 

  • Planned Gifts: By including USTA Mid-Atlantic in your estate plans, you can continue to have an impact on our tennis community and leave a legacy of tennis for all to enjoy. Bequests are one of the simplest and most popular methods of gift planning.
  • Donor-Advised Fund (DAF): A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a qualified public charity. Think of it as a philanthropic savings account. When you are ready, you can then recommend a grant to USTA Mid-Atlantic.
  • Gift of Stocks or Securities: Gifts of appreciated securities benefit USTA Mid-Atlantic while providing you with tangible tax benefits. Please consult your financial, tax, or legal advisor for more information.

Now that you have planned for a future of tennis, there are other ways to make an immediate impact beyond the net:

Help Grow Tennis in the Mid-Atlantic, give to tennis today.
  • Donate: Make a one-time gift or join THE SERVE SQUAD, with a recurring monthly donation online. Visit www.ustamasblog.com/donate for more information and ways to make your unrestricted gift to improve the region’s access to tennis’ unique health and social outcomes.
  • Make a tribute gift: You can make a donation in honor of someone whose love for tennis reached far beyond the court. Honor them by supporting the growth of tennis in the Mid-Atlantic so it can leave an equally powerful impact on the next generation of players. 
  • Match Your Gift: Employee matching gift programs are a great way to double or even triple your contribution to USTA Mid-Atlantic! Check with your human resources department to see if your employer has a matching gift program or use our Matching Gift Finder Tool.
  • Join the Creators Circle: Members of the Creators Circle are dedicated donors who provide gifts of $1,000 or more per year. These individuals receive personalized updates on the impact of their giving and invitations to engage in our virtual and in-person events.

Looking to get your company involved in supporting USTA Mid-Atlantic too?

Learn how to become a Net Positive Community Partner by contacting Catie Dugan Vargas, associate director of development at USTA Mid-Atlantic. Partners receive year-round virtual benefits and personalized assistance from our staff to meet their philanthropic goals.

As you can see, there are many ways to plan for a future of tennis and give back to USTA Mid-Atlantic and advance the sport you know and love. Give future generations of players the opportunity to experience their own love of tennis and ensure the sport can provide lasting benefits for years to come. Show your support today or by planning for the future. Together we can make tennis available for ALL. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn more about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

Summer Tennis Camp

Summer Full of Tennis Thanks to Scholarships

In partnership with adidas tennis camps

Andrea Vargas playing tennis at adidas summer camp

“What did you do over the summer?” 

As classrooms and school hallways fill with students excited to be returning to school, many children will ask this question. Some will describe memorable trips or time spent with family and friends. Some will share about summer camps and new experiences or adventures. 

For Andrea Vargas, a youth tennis player from Washington, D.C. she’ll be answering the question with, “I went to tennis summer camp!” Andrea received the USTA Mid-Atlantic Summer Camp Scholarship to attend a week of the adidas tennis camp at the Madeira School in McLean, Va.  

The Mid-Atlantic Summer Camp Scholarship program gives young athletes the opportunity to attend a summer tennis camp free of charge.

This scholarship program is made possible by the USTA Mid-Atlantic and organizations that donate camp sessions, such as the adidas tennis camp.

“Having the experience to come and enjoy my time at this summer camp was… FANTASTIC,” Andrea said. “I had the luxury to meet friends that I wouldn’t have met [before], and played amazing tennis with my friends, all thanks to this awesome camp!”

The adidas summer tennis camp is designed to give players the chance to uplevel their tennis. With the help of instruction from top coaches, players have the chance to play in exhibition matches with other athletes and access skillful drills. This camp enables athletes to become better tennis players in a fun, positive, and inclusive atmosphere. 

At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we are proud to give players the opportunity to continue to work on their tennis skills, build their community of tennis friends and grow through the character-building elements of the sport through scholarships that make experiences such as summer camp accessible.  

“This scholarship has impacted my tennis in so many ways. I learned things I wouldn’t have learned in another academy,” Andrea said when reflecting on how the USTA Mid-Atlantic Summer Camp Scholarship helped her tennis improve. 

Andrea Vargas playing tennis at the adidas summer camp

“Additionally, I had the opportunity to get some quality match play against a very good player and, of course, had fun while enjoying the sport I love the most!”

USTA Mid-Atlantic creates character. It is part of our mission to create opportunities for character building through the sport of tennis for all people. With the help of programs like the adidas summer camp, it increases access to character building benefits so ALL players have the chance to achieve the lifelong enjoyment of the sport.

To stay up to date on additional scholarship opportunities from USTA Mid-Atlantic, click here. And to learn more about the impact tennis is making in the Mid-Atlantic, explore additional resources here

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn how you can support our vital work and programs such as our summer camp scholarships and more.

Tennis Court

More Ways to Succeed with Your Tennis Team

Fundraising Challenges Offer a New Way to Compete

USTA Mid-Atlantic introduced the first fundraising challenge for the tennis community – the Summer Smash – in 2021 as a way for teams to come together to raise money to support tennis in local communities and the vital work USTA Mid-Atlantic does as a non-profit to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and bring the life-long benefits of tennis to everyone.

USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis league championship

This fundraising challenge brought tennis friends together to give back and do something actionable and meaningful together for a good cause. Individuals and teams came together to rally their communities and networks to donate. As the fundraising went on top achievers earned badges and prizes both as individuals and as a team.

So who stepped up and smashed the 2021 Summer Smash Fundraising Challenege? 

Congratulations to the top THREE fundraisers: 

  • 1st Place: Robin Sanford 
  • 2nd Place: Jenny Hein
  • 3rd Place: Joshua Padgett
One prize pack that was given to the winners of the Summer Smash Challenge

Thank you to Community Event Partner, Ruger’s Wafers LLC for sponsoring the 2021 challenge! Thank you to our partners for supporting the challenge with prizes and SWAG for the top fundraisers! 

  • Doukenie Winery
  • Hit Happy
  • Marriott Newport News City Center
  • M. Price Distributing Company
  • Ruger’s Wafers LLC
  • Tennis Warehouse
  • The Spoiled Office
  • TopCourt
  • Vitalyte 
  • Wilson

The next fundraising challenge will be in spring 2022.

You may be wondering why you should participate in something like this.

Here are a few reasons to participate in a tennis fundraising challenge: 

  • It feels good to do something good. We can all use a little bit of feeling good right now. When your team or friends (or even if you are on your own) participate in the challenge you can feel good knowing that you are helping others in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia experience tennis and the benefits of the sport. Many people don’t have access to tennis and your fundraising will help change that.
  • Your raised funds will really help. The money you raise will make it easier for someone to learn or play tennis just like you. You will be lowering the barriers to entry and will help make tennis more accessible in communities that are under-resourced. 
  • Competition. Friendly competition on the tennis courts is fun, and now fundraising for tennis gives you a chance to get competitive off the court too. There are challenge levels to hit and unlock badges, prizes to earn, and you could WIN big by going big with your efforts. Be a winner! 

Now we know you all love a good challenge and great competition (and probably want to WIN!) so to have success we’ve put together five tips for a successful fundraiser. 

  1. Make your first donation to your page, $5, $10, $25 or more is a great way to get started and show others you really care. 
  2. Invite your fellow tennis players to join your fundraising team so that together you can reach your goal.
  3. Share your fundraising page with family and friends and ask them to help you reach your goal. 
  4. Share your page in a text message, on your Facebook page or Instagram page or even send an email! Friends help friends that ask! 
  5. Send thank you notes to all who donate to your page and let them know they are helping to change lives through the sport of tennis! 

How to get started?

When we have a fundraising challenge, it is easy to join in and set up your fundraising page and/or team. Follow these steps:

USTA Mid-Atlantic League women's team photo
  1. Click the sign up button on the top right side of the fundraising challenge event page. We will provide a link when the challenge is announced.
  2. Choose whether you want to fundraise as an individual or start a team.
  3. Personalize your page with your tennis story, photos and videos.
  4. Ask your friends and tennis teammates to join your team; you can send them a custom link to sign up on your dashboard. 
  5. Share your fundraising page with friends and family asking them to support you so that more people can experience the benefits of tennis. 

Questions? Contact Catie Dugan Vargas, associate director of development, cvargas@mas.usta.com

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. We envision a community where tennis is accessible and available for all people to play. USTA Mid-Atlantic has wide-reaching impact. We operate leagues, tournaments and other programs and events throughout the region for over 28,000 adult and youth members. We support the community providers, facilities and coaches that directly deliver the sport. The many health and social benefits of tennis have made it more popular than ever, and USTA Mid-Atlantic’s programs and outreach are rising to meet that demand. Click here to read the additional terms and conditions for the Summer Smash Fundraising event.

Tennis is Growing in Local Communities

With the Help of Parks and Recreation  

At the center of every community are parks and recreation. Within those parks and recreation organizations space exists a history of thousands of stories, experiences, memories, and more.  As part of the annual celebration of Park and Recreation Month,  USTA Mid-Atlantic is excited to celebrate tennis growing in local communities and share stories of the joy of experiencing and providing tennis in public parks in our local region to ALL.  

Each Park and Recreation department in the Mid-Atlantic is unique in their approach but share one common mission – to include everyone, no matter ability, location, background, or resources, in their community tennis programming. This is a shared value with USTA Mid-Atlantic and aligns with our vision for tennis in EVERY community. Park and Recreation programs grow the game for every level, and some are doing it with the help of the “Grow the Game Grant” from USTA, which rewards providers who offer entry-level tennis programs to everyone in the community. 

Read below to learn about park and recreation  providers from the Section on a mission to bring tennis to everyone in their local community:  

DCDPR

DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s mission is to promote health and wellness; conserve the natural environment; provide universal access to parks and recreation services. 

We caught up with Andrew Acquadro, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Citywide Tennis Director, to give some insight into their department’s approach to tennis and share his story as part of  Park and Recreation Month. 

Kids Playing Tennis with DCDPR - Tennis Growing in local communities

“It’s important to celebrate National Parks and Recs Month so people can learn about all the fantastic low-cost public programs there are available in the community,” Andrew said. “Tennis is generally associated with needing a lot of money to learn how to play, so finding out what’s offered to the public [at a low cost]  through Parks & Rec is that much more important… DC Parks & Recreation offers so many different types of athletic and educational programs to the community and it’s amazing!”

There is no shortage of other programs offered by DC DPR. 

“[We] offer all types of tennis and pickleball programs in order to keep things fresh for all residents of all ages. Over 90+ clinics and events located in all 8 Wards of the city,” said Andrew. 

All ages, levels, and abilities can find their place on the court with DC DPR. Plus, players have the opportunity to take advantage of free match play days to better their skills on the court. 

“We also offer, “Pop-Up” tennis and pickleball socials, adaptive tennis, after-school programs, community outreach, and more! The cost for our programs is one of the lowest in the nation for a high-quality program,” he added. 

The low-cost and easily available programming at DC DPR enables everyone in the DC area to come to try tennis. Because of this approach, they are seeing a growing demand for the sport. “It is important to keep growing the game of tennis and put DC on the map for exceptional programming! We are currently putting together an elite junior tennis team so kids living in DC have an opportunity to compete with some of the other great junior programs in the area,” Andrew said. 

Tennis is growing in the local community with the help of DCDPR

“USTA Mid-Atlantic has always been a huge supporter of DC DPR. It is great to partner with them,” said Andrew. 

Andrew offered this tip when seeking tennis in DC, “If you’re looking for tennis opportunities at the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, make sure to look for the tall, bald, tattooed tennis director and come say hi! I am always looking to help players find their place on the tennis court.” 

In addition to DC DPR, here are a few other notable Parks and Rec providers located in the Section.

MONTGOMERY PARKS 

Similar to DCDPR, Montgomery Parks in Wheaton, Maryland offers tennis classes year-round. They operate two indoor tennis facilities that enable them to run plenty of tennis programs for all ages and levels. Their mission as a park and recreational facility is to balance the demand for recreation with the need for conservation. They strive to provide recreational activities while encouraging healthy lifestyles and providing a clean, safe, and accessible place. 

TOWN OF HERNDON PARKS & RECREATION

Town of Herndon Parks & Recreation in Herndon, Virginia set forward a goal to enhance the community by providing accessible and valued parks, facilities, and recreation programs. In 2020, tennis surged across the Section. The Mid-Atlantic tennis player is more likely to play at a public park or another venue versus any other location (2021 USTA Tennis Participation Report – Mid-Atlantic Section). With the continued growth of tennis in the area, they have expanded their programs to meet the interest level. One way they are growing the game is by opening their new indoor tennis facility on September 27, 2021. Plus, the outdoor courts will be open during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. 

Ladies playing tennis with DCDPR

Behind every community, there is a park and recreation department that helps bring happiness and joy to people. If you’re looking for ways to become engaged and join in tennis in your local area, make sure to check out your local Parks and Recreation. These local providers are supporting the growth of tennis in the Mid-Atlantic.  

The USTA Mid-Atlantic thanks Andrew Acquadro from DC DPR for taking the time to highlight their programs for the celebration of Parks and Recreation Month. 

Looking for more ways to get involved in tennis? Visit www.usta.com/midatlantic. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It’s committed to promoting the physical, social, and emotional health benefits of tennis. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.