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Florida Panhandle's D'Aleo Named USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month

August 31, 2011 11:38 AM
joe_daleoIf there are grassroot tennis events going on for juniors or adults in the Panhandle area of Florida, they most likely involve Joe D'Aleo. Over the past year the director of tennis at TOPS'L Beach & Racquet Resort in Santa Rosa Beach has been overseeing an explosion of 10 and Under Tennis and junior tennis, spreading the game beyond the confines of his club.

"I received a [USTA Florida] 'Share the Love' grant to expand junior tennis in my area, and at the first of the year we were going to local elementary schools and teaching PE classes using the 10 and Under Tennis format on the gym floor to over 300 kids in two days," D'Aleo said. "It was a very gratifying moment in my life."

Starting with the format that uses child-sized racquets, nets, courts and balls to ease kids into the game, he has also built a local pipeline that sees children move from 10 and Under Tennis on to Jr. Team Tennis, and on to middle school and high school tennis.

"We hosted a QuickStart Jamboree at TOPS'L that got children in the 8-and-under and 10-and-under age group to start playing tennis at local tennis facilities throughout our area, which then started our first Jr. Team Tennis league," D'Aleo said.

D'Aleo this year has also hosted a "USTA F.L. (Fun League) Tennis Blast" event for beginning adult players. Thirty-one beginning players were attracted to the free event, many of who had kids starting in the 10 and Under Tennis program.

"Joe D'Aleo is providing the courts free of charge for the Fun League, demonstrating his commitment to helping grow tennis in the area," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Panhandle area George English.

A 2.5 Fun League will be offered  at TOPS'L this fall for those interested in continuing what they experienced at the Tennis Blast.

"Some participants were parents of children that have started the QuickStart [10 and Under Tennis] program, and now they want to learn how to play so they can hit with their kids," D'Aleo said.

As the USPTA District 1 president, D'Aleo is also busy organizing teaching professionals "from Panama City to Pensacola" for district meetings and events. At this year's joint USTA Florida/USPTA Florida Semi-Annual Meeting, he was presented with the USTA Florida/USPTA Florida Division Service Award for service to the community as a tennis professional.

USTA Florida salutes Joe D'Aleo as the September 2011 Volunteer of the Month for his work (although he doesn't call it work) in bringing new child and adult players to tennis, and entire families alike.


Birthplace: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Family Members: my wife Jessica and my two sons Jacob and Ethan
Favorite Movie: Sideways
Favorite Food: seafood
Favorite Travel: Durango, Colorado
Favorite Tennis Shot: forehand

My earliest tennis memory was..."playing tennis with my mom and dad in Miami Beach. He actually cut a wooden racquet in half so I could swing it properly."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."stand-up paddling in the bay or surfing in the beautiful waters of the Emerald Coast."

Best-ever tennis memory..."is winning a doubles match versus Georgia to take a 4-3 lead."

I like to volunteer in tennis because..."it is a fun and fulfilling way to give back to a sport that has given me so much in my life."






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