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White Springs Youth Tennis Program

At the 2010 Annual Meeting of the USTA-Florida held in Orlando, YTF board member Scott Harrison was in the audience for a presentation by Tom Moore of White Springs, FL. Moore, who is a tennis pro and advocate for children, had rounded up resources for a tennis court in tiny White Springs, five mile North of I-10 on I-75. However, he still needed fencing, maybe some windscreen and a storage shed or mini-clubhouse for the court.

Harrison thought that YTF could be of assistance for this project and that the project fit the YTF mission. After Moore’s presentation, Harrison introduced himself and they had a conversation concerning the possibility of the YTF helping out at White Springs. In the end, the YTF provided about $6800 for fencing, a shed/clubhouse and windscreen for the court at White Springs.

On May 17, 2011 the court at White Springs was dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by the White Springs Mayor, Helen Miller, Tom Moore, Scott Harrison and USTA-FL representatives Doug Booth (Executive Director), Robert Hollis (Share the Love), Linda Curtis (Director of Community Tennis), Mary Harowski (Share the Love) and Andy McFarland (Associate Executive Director – Play Tennis Division), Rick Vach (Communications Coordinator) and local White Springs volunteers.

The attendees watched while Tom Moore took his charges through an hour of QuickStart drills followed by a splendid dinner at a cabin in the Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park. The dinner was hosted by Mayor Miller and other White Springs volunteers including barbecue chef extraordinaire, Teddy Bear, whose ribs and chicken were incomparable.


The White Springs Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, L to R, Doug Booth, Robert Hollis, Linda Curtis, Mary Harowski, Tom Moore, Helen Miller, Scott Harrison and Andy McFarland.

Photos below are of the progress of the courts and the children enjoying the area the first few days:


In late 2013, YTF Board Member Scott Harrison received an update from Tom Moore regarding the continued success of the White Springs project since it’s conception 2 years before.

Scott, Happy Holidays to you! Just wanted to thank you once again for your help in bringing tennis to the children in White Springs. It has been two years since the court was built and we are still doing Saturday mornings with tennis, pink lemonade and brownies. These pictures were taken last Saturday. A motley crew! Best to you all come by and see us some time.
Thanks again. Tom

 

 

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PAL Tennis Program

 

The Police Athletic League (PAL) in Palatka, FL created a new program focusing on youth ages 6 to 11 and provide children a safe, secure, and culturally diverse environment while improving health, building character and striving for academic excellence. The YTF granted the organization $1,000 to begin the program to be offered once a week for two hours at local area parks.

In partnership with The Joy of Tennis Youth Academy, PAL’s program will be utilizing the skills of Mr. Harold Hardy, a certified USPTR professional tennis coach for 47 years. The kids will be taught the skills that will allow the abilities and opportunities to compete in the North East Florida Junior Team Tennis League and build a foundation to continue playing through their High School years.

According to the Police Athletic Leagues, children in this program will:

  • Feel safe and secure while being supervised by a competent and caring staff
  • Learn the correct Forehand, Backhand, Ground Stroke and Net Volley, correct overhead and Serve.
  • Learn responsibility and positive attitudes through organize sport.
  • Grow socially through activities, and learn cooperation and tolerance
  • Develop emotionally through our health and recreation programs

Check back here for updates on the success of this program!

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Tennis-4-Everyone

 

“Tennis 4 Everyone” (started in 2001) is a program in Pensacola run by Rita Dotson, a USPTA Certified tennis pro. She won an award at the USTA/FL Annual meeting in December 2013 for 10 and Under Tennis Programs in Florida.

But “Tennis-4-Everyone” is more than an after school tennis program. On Monday through Thursday at the Fricker Center, 20 to 30 kids get help with their school homework as well. Dotson has afternoon programs at four Pensacola area community centers, Fricker, Gull Point, Cobb and the Boys and Girls Club. In these programs 10 and Under Tennis Clinics are stressed. Most of these kids are from the inner city and really appreciate the homework help as well as the introduction to tennis. She has one local pro, Michael Smith, who helps her out with the tennis clinics. Dotson takes no money for herself in administrating these free programs.

Dotson insists she can fully fund “Tennis 4 Everyone” for $8000 a year. Most of those funds come in the $100 here, $200 there types of donations.

YTF was proud to make a $500 donation to “Tennis-4-Everyone” for the year 2014.


YTF Board Member presents “Tennis-4-Everyone” Founder Rita Dotson
a check for $500 while Fricker Center kids work their homework.

-2017-

The Tennis-4-Everyone program continues to be a success at the Fricker Center in Pensacola, FL.


The Cobb Center in Pensacola also hosts the program each week with the help of Coach Paris Watt.



Gull Point Community Center offers the Tennis-4-Everyone program with great success!


Kids at Woodlawn Heights Community Center have been spending their Fridays learning tennis too!

-2016-

The Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida (YTF) again donated $1000 to the continuation of the Tennis-4-Everyone program in Pensacola.

Children attending summer camps at community centers in the Pensacola area such as Cobb Center, Fricker Center, and Gull Point receive free tennis instruction. Adult volunteers and University of West Florida (UWF) volunteers assist students with their homework before the tennis activities take place.


YTF Board Member Scott Harrison presents
‘Tennis-4-Everyone’ Founder Rita Dotson a check for $1000

Please click on the following and have a quick read about the organization:

Tennis 4 Everyone

 

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Derbyshire Tennis Project

The mission of the Derbyshire after school tennis program is to provide free tennis instruction and clinics to children in the midtown Daytona Beach area. This program focuses on encouraging grade school and middle school children to learn the game of tennis with an emphasis on creating opportunities for high school tennis and beyond. The all volunteer staff includes team player from Bethune Cookman College in coordination with tennis coach Tim Pleasant, along with local players, and coaches. The Derbyshire tennis program provides a valuable service in the community which the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida is proud to support.

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YOUTH TENNIS FOUNDATION TO SPONSOR FIRST EVER DIVISION I MEN’S TOURNAMENT

The Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida, Inc. (YTF) proudly announces that it will sponsor the first ever Division I Men’s Tournament in the State of Florida. The Florida State Tennis Championships, will invite up to four players from all twelve (12) of the Division I teams to compete in the event, which will take place from September 23-25, 2011 at the University of South Florida. The University of Florida, University of Miami, Florida State University, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, University of North Florida, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville University, Florida A & M, Stetson College, Bethune-Cookman will join Florida Gulf Coast University in the competition.

The winning player will have his name inscribed on a perpetual trophy, to be called “The Bedford Cup,” in honor of the family who donated money to fund the event. J. Webb Horton, who has coached the FGCU men’s team for the last several years, is the tournament chairman. There will be an “Information Night” on the Saturday, September 24, at which time junior players who aspire to play tennis in college can meet the coaches and the players and learn more about the schools and their programs. There is no charge for attending the event but donations to the YTF will be welcomed.

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YTF Board Member Bobby Curtis Honored

The USTA-Florida honored YTF Board member Bobby Curtis at it’s 60th Annual USTA-FL Celebration held December 4-6 at the Clearwater Beach Hilton. Curtis was honored for his 30 years of service to the USTA-FL as it’s first paid employee. Curtis is retiring as a full time paid employee of the USTA-FL but will continue to work as a contract employee dong his usual duties with major Florida junior tennis tournaments.

Curtis has been an integral part of the Youth Tennis Foundation of almost 40 years. He first became involved with the YTF in the early 70s while he was the director of tennis at Moore Park in Miami. He hosted the first 14 and under State Youth Team Tennis Tournament in 1977. The USTA-FL took over operation of the Youth Team Tennis program (re-naming it Junior Team Tennis) in the late 80’s.


Kelley (left) presents Curtis with a plaque commemorating his service with the YTF.

At the Sunday morning breakfast celebration for Curtis several speakers told funny and inspiring stories about Curtis. YTF past president, Pierce Kelley, was the first of those speakers and he related several wonderful stories about Bobby and his involvement with the YTF.


Kelley (left) and Curtis at the Celebration of 30 Years of Service.

Although Curtis has retired a s a full time employee of the USTA-FL, he will be working with both organizations as needed.

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Youth Village Program

In November 2007, the YTF presented the Youth Village After School & Summer Program in Ft. Walton Beach with a ball machine for their twice a week tennis program. Between 8 and 20 youngsters participate in the program each tennis day.


YTF presentation to Youth Village from the right side at the back, Scott Harrison (YTF Board Member),
Nellie Bogar (Founder/Director of Youth Village), Anthony Roberts (Volunteer/Certified Tennis Coach),
and fifth from the right Natalie Bogar (volunteer/certified tennis coach). The kids are all Youth Village
after school participants.

The Youth Village After School & Summer Program was formed in 1999 for the purpose of creating a safe place to provide various educational and recreational services to the children of the greater Ft. Walton Beach community.

Children are admitted without regard to race, color, sex, religion or national origin.

The Summer Arts/Education Program consists of academics during the morning sessions and The Arts during the afternoon sessions. The afternoon session of the summer program consists of workshops including writing, acting, dancing and singing that inspire creativity, confidence, character building and leadership. This culminates in an end of summer production which is open to the public.

Tennis activities are conducted at two courts at a nearby condo complex. Certified tennis instructors, Natalie Bogar and Anthony Roberts, conduct the tennis activities.

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Pine Forest Project

In 2006, the YTF, through Board Member Scott Harrison, awarded $4080 to a junior program in Pensacola which will allow for the purchase of a permanent building to house a pro shop and help to facilitate a junior tennis programs and activities. Greg Pack, tennis coach at Pine Forest High School, allows his courts to be open to the public year around. He also follows the “no-cut” policy for his tennis teams. Therefore, he has many players ready to try junior team tennis, novice tournaments and junior clinics. The new building is the hub of tennis activities at Pine Forest.

Pine Forest has already hosted the Big Six Escambia County High School Tennis Tournament and a junior team tennis league. This fall middle school team tennis will be hosted at the Pine Forest facility.


Greg Pack accepting a check for $4800 from Scott Harrison on behalf of YTF to build the club house and fund other smaller projects


Initial placing of the club house


Team Tennis additions to the club house


2007 Pine Forest Team Tennis


Inside the new club house

 

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Jacksonville Project

In 2006, the YTF, through Board Member Bob Jagger, awarded $1,000 to a grass-roots program headed by Robert Sweat at the city of Jacksonville’s Riverside Tennis Park. Sweat has free children’s clinics several days a week at the public park.

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Genesis Assistance

Orlando’s Genesis Community Program, one of the most longstanding inner-city youth tennis programs in Florida, celebrated their annual Christmas party in December at the Jackson Community Center compliments of the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida.

Over 20 kids from Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood attended the event and were treated to a new pair of tennis shoes, toys, treats, clothing, and lunch.

The Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida was the primary sponsor of the Christmas party which provides the only gifts most of the kids attending receive over the holiday.

In addition to the kids the event was also attended by Orlando City Commissioner Daisy Lynum, Orlando Police Department Officer Rod Johnson, Orlando City Commission Aide Marcia Davis, Genesis volunteers Carolyn Avallone, TJ Avallone, Rai Liauw, and Jeff Horn.

The Genesis Program was founded in 1994 by Daisy Lynum and Jeff Horn. The program provides tennis instruction, mentoring, referrals, advocacy, shoes & clothing, snacks, family emergency assistance, etc. all free of charge to the children and families served.