Rising Up for Parks and Recreation

July marks the celebration of Parks and Recreation Month and recognizes how integral of a role public parks play in our own communities. For many individuals, public parks are places for special experiences and making memories to last a lifetime. They are often gathering places for all ages to get involved in nature, celebrate special events, and take on many new adventures and sports like tennis

Having access to parks and recreation is a vital part of an active, thriving community. Many people pick up their tennis racquets for the first time on public tennis courts and subsequently fall in love with the sport. Tennis courts in public parks are spaces that welcome any age, ability, background, and income level to the game of tennis. It is where fun tennis experiences happen, from casual hitting around with friends and family, tennis lessons, camps, USTA League matches, tournaments and more, public parks in the Mid-Atlantic Section are where it is at for tennis! In fact, the 2022 Tennis Participation Survey Summary Report created by the Tennis Industry Association reported that 41% of all tennis participants in the Mid-Atlantic play tennis on courts in public parks.

In addition, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is shining light on how parks and recreation professionals have become public health leaders. “They have expanded programming and worked to fill gaps in access to physical activity, healthy food, chronic disease prevention and management, and social connections, as well as support academic and cultural enrichment opportunities,” said the NRPA. 

At USTA Mid-Atlantic we believe that tennis should be accessible to all in every community and public parks play a vital role in making this vision come true. We have compiled a few tips on how you can celebrate parks and recreation month and #RiseUpJuly for tennis in your own community so future tennis players prosper for years to come! 

Tip #1 Organize a public park tennis court clean up day

Cleaning up your own community can be fun and easy! Tennis courts can get pretty dirty quickly especially due to the outdoor elements. A blower and a broom can get the job done efficiently making an old court look brand new again! Contact your public park and work with them to organize the tennis court clean up day. There may be certain steps you will have to take and talking with your local parks and recreation department should be the first one. Once you are ready to go, they say teamwork makes the dream work so gather your own team made up of friends, tennis teammates,  neighbors, and/or even your family can get the job done. Giving your local park tennis courts some TLC is one of the best ways to get out there and help restore your own community park tennis courts.

By spreading the word, this can become an even bigger community event bringing together people from all backgrounds creating new social connections in your own backyard. You can also spark interest for others to try tennis when they see a beautiful, spruced up court to play on! 

Tip #2 Spread the word about the USTA Mid-Atlantic Facility Restoration Grant 

At USTA Mid-Atlantic we believe tennis creates community, character, and well-being. Having high-quality, well-maintained places to play tennis can improve community well-being and provide access to the benefits of tennis among communities that are underserved. We hope to be a helping hand in fostering social connections and uplifting communities by creating a fun environment and place in every community where all are welcome to thrive with tennis. 

Through the Facility Restoration Grant, USTA Mid-Atlantic provides up to $10,000 for tennis court construction and refurbishment. Public tennis courts, especially those in parks, schools, and communities are typically the first place where people are seeking the sport. While the application period is closed for this year, we offer the Facility Restoration Grant every year so make sure you’re on the lookout for when the application reopens! Make sure to tell your local park and recreation department about the grant and encourage them to apply. These grants would not be possible without the support from individuals like you donating and showing support for USTA Mid-Atlantic –  a non-profit organization. 

Tip #3 Organize your own tennis meetup or tennis social

There are many people who want to get involved with tennis but don’t know where to start or who to contact. All it takes is a few tennis enthusiasts to help grow the sport in your own community! You can organize a tennis meetup among the community to encourage people interested in playing to meet other tennis players, find other interested players, and get to know any community tennis associations, providers, or organizers.  Now this may sound like a daunting task but there are many resources available for you to be successful! Contact your local Parks and Recreation Department and discuss your idea for a tennis meetup or tennis social with them. Once you are ready to move forward, see if you can post a local event listing on their website. You can also ask if you can hang up your own posters at the local park so more people can spread the word. 

Looking for more ways to grow the game of tennis? There are many ways you can get involved and leave a lasting impact. Make sure you continue to celebrate and #RiseUpJuly for your local Parks and Recreation Departments by showing your appreciation in any way you can! 

To stay up to date on all things tennis in the Mid-Atlantic make sure to follow USTA Mid-Atlantic on Facebook, Instagram, and TwitterUSTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

3 Quick and Easy Ways to Refresh Your Tennis Life

Tennis is an ever evolving sport and whether you’re new to the courts or have been serving up aces for years, it’s never a bad time to go back and brush up on your knowledge and skills. At USTA Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA MAS), we want to be the one stop source so you can get the most out of what you are putting into your tennis game. USTA MAS has many resources and platforms to help you in your tennis journey. With that being said, we’ve compiled a list of three quick and easy ideas to help you refresh and enrich your tennis life so you can rock the courts all year long!

Tip #1 Refresh your Skills

“Practice makes perfect” is what they say and it’s true! Tennis is one of the most dynamic sports where you have to be sharp in your mental game as well as your physical game. During National Tennis Month, USTA Mid-Atlantic created a weekly series of one-minute video clips to demonstrate different techniques and tennis strokes that you can practice right on your local courts! Stroke of the Week is a great way to launch yourself into new heights gaining new tennis skills to know or perfecting and refining mastered tennis skills along the way. 

Tip #2 Refresh your knowledge about your Tennis Community 

Though you may know a little bit about USTA Mid-Atlantic Section and the tennis community we are creating together, there is always so much more to learn! As a nonprofit organization, we strive to grow tennis and make the sport accessible so that ALL people can experience the benefits. This is the heart of everything we do at USTA MAS and we truly believe that through tennis, we can create character, community, and well-being for all. Did you know that USTA Mid-Atlantic provides: 

  • Scholarships to youth players with financial need so they can stay in tennis and gain the character building benefits of the sport; 
  • Grants to help build or refurbish tennis courts that stimulate communities and increase access to quality tennis infrastructure; and
  • Financial and other resources to community tennis providers and organizations that support tennis programs that build community, character, and well-being?

In fact, in 2021, we were able to fund programs that helped 800 people find their community through tennis! And that’s just one example of the ways tennis is making a difference and changing lives – there’s more in the 2021 Annual Report. It is really special when you are a part of something that helps others; learn more about how you can make a difference in the community here. 

Tip #3 Refresh your knowledge of tennis rules and tennis lingo!

Rules and regulations are one of the most important aspects of playing tennis. It is perfectly okay to not know every single rule during a tennis match, but it is important to try and understand as much as possible and learn the rules of tennis. The rules and regulations can vary based on the match such as a singles match or doubles match. Luckily, USTA has compiled numerous resources all in one place that detail every single tennis rule you could possibly have a question about! Plus the more you become acquainted with – or refresh your memory on – certain rules, it can help enhance your experience on the tennis court. Plus, when you know the rules and are confident, that can encourage more sportsmanship and that always makes tennis great! 

Another big confidence booster in tennis is knowing the right lingo! There are a lot of acronyms and terms that get thrown around while you are on the tennis court. If you are just starting in tennis you may be wondering what terms you should know so you can keep up with everyone else on the court. And learning how to speak the tennis language can be pretty fun! Knowing what to say and how to talk about tennis can give you a leg up on your competition. We have a full list of every tennis term and the definition of each tennis term you need to know! 

And that’s it! Refreshing your tennis life doesn’t take long at all and as always, USTA Mid-Atlantic is here to help you along your journey. Put these three tips in your tennis bag and you’ll be able to ace any match that serves up your way! 

To stay up to date on all things tennis in the Mid-Atlantic make sure to follow USTA Mid-Atlantic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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

How You Can Serve it Forward to Youth Players this Summer!

Kids want to play tennis and all we have to do is put them on a path to get into the game. But sometimes, things get in the way. The cost of lessons or tennis summer camp fees, or even equipment can be more than some can afford. This is why we fundraise! 

We fundraise so that more youth players in need can have the chance to play. We fundraise to support scholarships that can help cover tennis expenses for any level youth tennis player. We fundraise so no one has to fall behind or have less time on the tennis court than someone else. 

All children deserve to play tennis and scholarships from USTA Mid-Atlantic make it so more youth can get into and stay in the sport. 

Join USTA Mid-Atlantic and fundraise in the Summer Smash challenge. This year all money raised in the challenge will fund scholarships for youth tennis players. 

And we need you now more than ever. 

The Junior Player Scholarship application period has been open only for a couple of weeks and we have received an overwhelming number of applications, more than we have ever seen before. We will exhaust all the funding we have for the scholarship just in this first round of applications. But so many more kids need help and need to be able to play tennis! 

Tennis continues to be an outlet for kids to get involved, make friends, and be active.  This year’s Summer Smash fundraising will directly fund youth tennis players with scholarships so they gain the healthy benefits of the sport we all love! 

Let’s Smash the Challenge Together 

This challenge provides a fun, easy way for your team to compete against other Mid-Atlantic teams to see how much money you can raise for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Scholarship program. It’s truly a special experience. 

“It’s fun sharing something important to me and telling others about its benefits,” said Robin Sanford, the top fundraiser in the 2021 Summer Smash Challenge. “I also love a challenge!”

Over the last 10 years, USTA Mid-Atlantic has awarded 91 youth players with scholarships to help cover expenses related to tennis and keep them playing. The goal is to raise $5,000 to fund more youth player scholarships and respond to the growing need among players and their families/caregivers. 

Here are the easy steps to get your fundraiser on a roll: 

  1. SIGN UP
    Click here
    to register as an individual with the option to join a team later!
  2. SHARE YOUR PAGE
    Personalize your page with your tennis story, photos and videos then share the news with your network.
  3. GET MORE SUPPORTERS
    Ask your friends and tennis teammates to join your team; you can send them a custom link to sign up on your dashboard. Also, share your fundraising page with friends and family asking them to support you so that more kids can experience the benefits of tennis!

“I set up my page and then emailed it to about 15 people individually, who I thought might be willing to help,” Sanford said. “These were family and friends who I thought would be willing to support my effort and help a good cause;they responded very generously.”

Here are four tips to help guide you towards a successful fundraiser: 

  • 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. 
  • Invite your fellow tennis players to join your fundraising team so that together you can reach your goal!
  • Share your fundraising page with family and friends and ask them to help you reach your goal. Share your page in a text message, on your Facebook page or Instagram page or even send an email! Friends help friends that ask! 
  • 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!

The Perks of the Summer Smash 

Now, we do know tennis players love a little friendly competition! In recognition of that, you and your team could WIN big by going big with your efforts. 

Summer Smash 2022 top fundraiser prizes:

  • 1st Place: Citi Open Team Experience! Includes (15) tickets for your team to attend the 2022 Citi Open together this summer in Washington, DC among other surprises!
  • 2nd Place: Set of custom tennis shirts for you and your team and customized team cooler from the Spoiled Office AND a 2-hour tennis clinic for 12 at The Boar’s Head Resort!
  • 3rd Place: (15) $50 Gift Cards to TennisTopia, one for each member of your team AND a 2-hour tennis clinic for 12 at Wintergreen Resort!

The challenge ends July 11th, so let’s get started!

Participating in Summer Smash is a great way to begin leaving your impact on the Mid-Atlantic tennis community, but your journey doesn’t have to stop there! If you’re looking to do more to grow tennis in your community, there are various ways to get involved year-round and make an impact.

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

To stay up to date on all things tennis in the Mid-Atlantic make sure to follow USTA Mid-Atlantic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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

Spring into Tennis

With clean courts

We’ve all heard the term “spring cleaning” before. Generally, it is a time when individuals get rid of unwanted clutter in their lives. Spring cleaning initiates a new slate of opportunities where you can be productive in a clear space. 

Now think about how productive and impactful it would be to apply the spring cleaning method to your community tennis courts. At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we know that your community tennis court is like your second home. So let us help you create opportunities to make your second home – the tennis courts –  fresh for the new spring season. 

To help you get started, we have compiled a list of three things that you can do right now to prepare your community tennis courts and spring into the new tennis season. Take a look at the three simple steps to spring clean your tennis courts below: 

#1: Apply for a USTA Mid-Atlantic Facility Restoration Grant

Having safe, well-maintained places to play improves community well-being, enhances the attractiveness of neighborhoods, and provides access to the benefits of tennis for all community members. USTA Mid-Atlantic Section offers the Facility Restoration Grant which can provide up to $10,000 for tennis court construction and refurbishment. This grant can provide direct support to communities looking to spruce up their local courts. As a nonprofit organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic is able to provide this grant thanks to generous gifts by supporters like you. 

Depending on where you play tennis in your community, you may need to work with local community organizations on the application process. For example if you play tennis in your neighborhood and you have a Homeowners Association, you will need to work with them on the application. If you play tennis in your local park, go to your Park and Recreation Department and tell them about the funding opportunity and that the application is available. The pathways are endless to clean up your local courts and you’re doing your part to make tennis available for all. 

For more information on our grants and assistance, please click here. 

#2: Organize your own spring clean up day for your community tennis court

Earth day is right around the corner – April 22 to be exact. Organizing your own spring clean up day of your local community tennis courts would be a great way to celebrate Earth Day. 

Having a clean and refreshed court will encourage others to venture out to play more tennis. It may even help a player pick up a racquet for the first time when they see the immaculate conditions of their local tennis court.  

The best part about a spring clean up day for your community tennis court is that you don’t even need to have a lot of people! Start small by asking your friends and family to help you and then ask them to also spread the word. Whether it becomes a large or small turn out, with a few helping hands your court can get spruced up in no time. Plus, this will help spread your love for tennis to new levels. Your impact on cleaning up your local community court will help tennis be accessible for all.

#3: Share your love for tennis beyond the court

Become an advocate for the tennis courts in your community. You can work with your parks and recreation department or homeowners association to ensure that the tennis courts are regularly monitored and maintained. 

Advocating for your courts would include activities such as notifying the owners of the courts if repairs are needed such as cracks in the courts or damaged nets; mentioning funding resources such as the Facility Recovery grant, or organizing regular clean up days. Promoting accessible and welcome community courts helps ensure that all people can enjoy safe and maintained tennis courts.

USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being. When you participate in “spring cleaning” of your local community tennis courts, you will foster a welcoming environment for ALL to come and play tennis.  

If you’re looking to do more to grow tennis in your community, there are ample ways to get involved and make an impact. The courts will be waiting for you and we can’t wait to see you all there! 

To stay up to date on all things tennis in the Mid-Atlantic make sure to follow USTA Mid-Atlantic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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

Four Ways to Develop New Friendships through Tennis

As we get older one thing remains true, everyone is in a constant cycle of change. 

People move, people get married, people travel, people start families, people take on new careers or businesses, there are many journeys that life takes us on as we go through adulthood. As your journey unfolds, you may find yourself in a place where you are searching for new friends and social connection. 

Making friends during childhood or the teen years is an important life-skill that develops and seems to come pretty easily. However, making friends as an adult when you’re way past those stages and don’t have free time on a playground, can sometimes feel overwhelming and intimidating. 

You may be wondering where to start and where to find those authentic friendships that will be fulfilling. Sometimes making new friends means connecting back to you and giving yourself the motivation to look inward to your passions and interests that maybe you’ve put aside, or it may mean you need to get out of your comfort zone and try something new to find new friendships. 

And that’s where tennis comes in! 

At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we believe tennis creates character, community, and well-being for ALL. With millions – 1.3 to be exact –  of people playing tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region, the community and network that is created and shared among tennis players is often one of the top reasons cited for playing the sport. The social aspect of tennis is undeniable. We hear countless stories of how tennis brings people together in unique ways to share in a common interest and passion. 

Plus, tennis is a lifetime sport so no matter what stage of life you are in, you can find yourself in the game and discovering new connections and relationships. 

Making friends in adulthood isn’t always easy, but we’ve got some tips that may help you find those besties and buddies you can’t live without all while getting to experience the health and well-being benefits tennis provides. 

Tip #1 Take a Chance and Put Yourself out There

Trying a new sport in your adult life can seem way more intimidating on the outside looking in. You don’t know the terminology, you may not know the rules, but what you can do is start small! 

You can find tennis programs in your local area that will help you learn the basics and begin in the sport. In these settings, you may be in a small group of adults all learning together and that can be the fun, shared experience that allows a friendship to form. In fact, check out this story of a group of strangers that started their tennis journey together and became a close-knit group of friends

Tip #2 Join a USTA League

If you’ve played tennis before or play on your own, USTA League may be the way to go to find new friends. USTA League is team-based and that means you have the opportunity to meet new people in your local area that share an interest in playing and competing recreationally in tennis. USTA League in the Mid-Atlantic has many different levels and age divisions where you can find your fit. USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is special because there are individuals from all walks of life that come together as a TEAM to help each other grow and learn. Not only do you get the chance to make new friends with your teammates, you may even find that your network gets wider as you play against different teams and opponents that you also start to get to know. Soon enough, you may find that your team on court becomes like a family off the court. 

Have you been looking to join a team? USTA Mid-Atlantic is here to help you get started. Check out the information we’ve made available. You can contact us through Tennis Connect if you need help finding a team.   

Tip #3 Volunteer with USTA Mid-Atlantic

Volunteers are what keep USTA Mid-Atlantic going as they are an intricate part of the growth of tennis in our region. Not only is volunteering a great way to get involved in your own community, it is also a great way to meet plenty of new people who enjoy the sport of tennis just as much as you do! Through volunteering you can become inspired and inspire others to put yourself out there, meet new people, and embrace the sport with full confidence. 

There are many ways to get involved and volunteer at local tennis events, community events, joining committees, and other USTA Mid-Atlantic projects; you can find the right fit for YOU. If you are interested visit our volunteer page to find out more.

#4 Start Up a Conversation

Do you have a child that plays tennis and you’re always at their matches and practices? Well this is a great chance to take the time to connect with other parents! Starting up a conversation with other parents while waiting for your child can be a great way to find a new connection. You could also organize a tennis parents meet up or lesson that runs while your children are learning in their class. Sparking new conversations at your local courts can bring new opportunities to connect with others who may have the same interest as you and your family. Tennis is a dynamic sport that can bring many new adventures all while having fun.

In the end, there could be a list of 20 different ways to foster new friendships through tennis but you will never truly know if you don’t take a leap of faith and try it out! In tennis, you have to put trust into the players next to you, it requires teamwork and communication which in turn can develop strong bonds and lifelong friends on and off the court. There are so many ways to get involved and the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is here to help you on this journey. We can’t wait to see you out on the courts soon! 

To stay up to date on all things tennis in the Mid-Atlantic make sure to follow USTA Mid-Atlantic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

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