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:
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.
“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.
“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.
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 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.
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.
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.