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Volunteer of the Month -- Pamela Burns

May 5, 2010 07:00 PM
Whether greeting USTA Florida members in the USTA Florida Membership Booth at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, helping lay the groundwork for the relatively-new Friends of Miami CTA (Community Tennis Association), or helping son Justin achieve his junior tennis dreams, USTA Florida volunteer Pamela Burns enjoys sharing her love for the game with her fellow Miami residents.

"Pam is a wonderful volunteer," says USTA Florida Marketing and Membership Coordinator Trina Singian. "She has a sparkling personality and her positive attitude is infectious. During the Sony Ericsson she interacts with many of our members and we are fortunate to have her represent our organization. She is amazing."

Burns has spent the last four years in the USTA Florida Membership Booth at the joint ATP/WTA tour Miami event, and recently helping along the Friends of Miami CTA.

"It is a relatively new CTA that has responsibility of the Tamiami tennis facility," Burns says. "As a part of my role [as treasurer] I am creating procedures and controls around deposits and payroll for the facility as well."

As a junior player Burns competed in district-level tournaments in Ohio until college, then picked up the game again after the birth of her son, teaching him tennis by age 4 and watching his tournament success by the age of 8.

"I played as a [league] alternate for a short period of time, but ceased playing to accommodate his schedule," Burns says. "He began traveling and playing tournaments, and that along with group and private lessons, my job and my role as a single parent, meant that I became the audience instead of the player."

After competing in a tournament in Amsterdam, her son was asked to consider joining the Evert Academy in Boca Raton. The family then relocated to Miami in 2005.

"I began to volunteer with USTA Florida for the Sony and [USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator] Cathy Nordlund whenever she needed my assistance," Burns said. "Cathy asked me to consider joining the board of the local CTA as the treasurer and I accepted. As I told Cathy, the USTA has been good to my son and I, whatever they ask of me I am happy to provide."
 
As the vice president of foundation and institutional advisory services with a local private bank, Burns has also had the opportunity to effect tennis change on the international level.

"Our company recently received an award from the Israel Children's Center for our contributions to their Israel tennis program," Burns said of the initiative that allows Israeli and Christian Arab children to play tennis in a safe environment. "I am proud to work for an organization that recognizes the benefits that tennis can bring, and the gaps in communication that can be closed through this sport."

The tennis mom has again and again given back to the sport, far exceeding the gifts she has received.

"The USTA helped me pay for tennis for my son as a junior player," Burns says. "The discipline of the sport helped make him a better person and as a single mom, I never had to worry where he was if a tennis court was nearby. I can never repay them for all they did, volunteering is my way of giving back."

While her effort has her paid in full many times over, USTA Florida hopes the March 2010 Volunteer of the Month will long continue to contribute at the local level in Miami, as well as brighten the day of visitors annually at the USTA Membership Booth at the Sony Ericsson Open.

"Pam has a tremendous ability to connect with our members," says USTA Florida Program Marketing Coordinator Tulsi Desai. "She's a powerhouse tennis mom with a passion for the game and she can always be counted on to give her all to any occasion while making others laugh. She is a wonderful asset to our organization."

Click here to learn more about USTA Florida volunteer needs.

ABOUT PAM

Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
Family Members: I am number 7 of 9 children, with one child of my own (Justin)
Favorite Movie: North by Northwest (starring Cary Grant)
Favorite Food: Anything covered in chocolate
Favorite Travel Spot: London (I am a history nut)
Favorite Shot: Backhand down the line

My earliest tennis memory was..."district tennis at the public park with a wooden tennis racquet. Okay, I know I just dated myself but you did ask for the earliest memory."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."[Roger] Federer, [Andre] Agassi and Billie Jean King. They would need to play with one hand behind their back, but since this is my fantasy that should be okay."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."thinking about playing tennis."

Best ever tennis memory..."My son's first year with Junior Extreme tennis. At 13 he was the smallest player on the 16s team and the 'ringer.' He won every match -- singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
 

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