Adult Leagues Adult Tournaments Junior Tournaments Jr. Team Tennis Learn more

Seminole County (Fla.) Awarded USTA National Member Org. of the Year

March 23, 2010 07:00 PM

Seminole County Leisure Services Department
Park Supervisor Cindy Harkins and Director 
Joe Abel (photo courtesy USTA – Bryan Haraway)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 23, 2010 --
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) honored the Seminole County Leisure Services Department of the Seminole County Government in Florida as the USTA Member Organization of the Year. The award is given annually to an organization that provides outstanding service to its members and the local community.

Seminole County Leisure Services Director Joseph Abel accepted the award on March 22 at the USTA's Annual Meeting in Dallas.

"As director of Seminole County's Leisure Services Department I am ecstatic, humbled, and honored," Abel said. "Ecstatic on behalf of our staff and the outstanding job they do in delivering quality tennis opportunities to our residents and visitors of Seminole County. Humbled to be recognized by USTA for this national award for simply delivering tennis programming that we consider much more a passion than a job. And I am honored, at the thought that our staff and tennis professionals working with USTA programs, USTA Florida Section, and the many USTA volunteers that contribute countless hours to our delivery of tennis programming to our community have been recognized for such a prestigious award."

The Seminole County Leisure Services department began its involvement with the USTA and USTA Florida in 1976 when it opened Red Bug Lake Park, which features 16 lighted hard courts. The department has grown to now include a 25-court facility at Sanlando Park, a nine-court facility at Sylvan Lake Park and two additional neighborhood parks that house four courts apiece.

Seminole County Leisure Services sponsors a number of county-wide programs that cater to players of all age groups and skill levels. In 2009, the county recorded a record number of program participants, including more than 6,400 participants in adult social programs and more than 3,000 participants in junior training and development programs.

Seminole County is home to more than 120 men's, women's and mixed teams in local and USTA adult and senior leagues, and regularly hosts QuickStart Tennis Open Houses at each of the county's three main park locations. In addition, the county played host to 17 sanctioned USTA Florida tournaments featuring more than 1,600 players.

"The Seminole County's Leisure Services Department is truly one of the organizations that impact the growth of tennis," said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth. "They provide outstanding tennis opportunities for all ages, abilities, and levels and do it with extremely high standards with everything they do. If we could duplicate what they are doing in every park and recreation setting the growth of tennis would be even higher throughout Florida."

The Seminole County Leisure Services Department also opens its facilities to local high schools for practices and home matches; actively fosters diversity, operating a weekly senior program and providing scholarship opportunities to youth in need; and hosts a number of charity events, including the Denton Johnson Charity Tennis Tournament, which raises funds for the city of Eatonville's "First Serve" inner city youth tennis program, and the Tornado Challenge Charity Tennis Tournament, which helped raise money for tornado victims in neighboring Florida counties.

"Seminole County is committed to tennis and understands the positive impact it can make in a community," said Kurt Kamperman, chief executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "We are very pleased to see such an organization -- one that shows such spirit and passion for the sport -- receive this honor. The county's varied program offerings for every age and ability level, combined with the dedication of its team of staff and volunteers, are a great example of just how much a local organization can do to keep tennis thriving."






Print Article Email Article Newsletter Signup Share