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June Volunteer of the Month - Cindy Harkins

June 8, 2009 11:29 AM

By: Tori Townsend

Cindy Harkins of Longwood has been a volunteer with USTA Florida dating to 1975. A volunteer member of the original Recreation and Education Council, now the Recreational Tennis Council, Cindy has invested most of her time and energy to the sport of tennis. First introduced to the game by her father, she fell in love with tennis as a youth and has played ever since. As current supervisor for Red Bug Lake Park, Cindy has been an advocate in creating tennis facilities in Seminole County through her role as park supervisor.

“When I started with Seminole County, they didn’t have one tennis court,” she said. “Now they have 54. The county’s commitment to tennis went hand in hand with my passion for the sport and with that, I met so many great people through the USTA and became involved as a volunteer.”

As a volunteer on the Junior Competitive Council since 1992, she has focused on raising the quality of the section’s junior tennis tournaments through the training and education of tournament directors and working with other council members to create tournament standards and evaluation procedures. Cindy started the first Tournament Director Workshop and was involved in the creation of Rookie-level tournaments for Florida’s entry-level tournament players. She was also responsible for brining all divisions of the Jr. State Closed Championship, USTA Florida’s most prestigious junior event, to Seminole County in the mid ‘90s -- and served as tournament director for years. Seminole County now hosts the BG10s and BG12s due to the large draws of the tournament.

“I enjoy working with tournament directors, officials, staff, parents and players to ensure the USTA Florida product is of the highest quality and that the customers have a positive experience,” Cindy said. “I think our customer service and our brand of the tournaments that we put out there need to have a certain level that the participants, parents and coaches can expect, and that is what we are working hard towards accomplishing.”

In volunteering for USTA Florida, Cindy has met some extraordinary individuals in the tennis world, which she says includes USTA Florida staff, volunteers, community members, and even tennis great Arthur Ashe.

“By being a volunteer, I’ve had many opportunities that I never would have experienced had I not been involved with USTA Florida,” said Cindy, noting a particular training session at the old education and recreation headquarters in Princeton. “That was a really wonderful opportunity to be around some great volunteers who had a love and passion for the game and it made me realize how important it was to stay involved as a volunteer.”

This year marks Cindy’s 34th year of volunteerism for USTA Florida and the association is proud to present her as its June Volunteer of the Month!






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