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Freeport in Panhandle Receives USTA Florida QuickStart Tennis Grant

July 13, 2010 07:44 PM
mediawallsharethelovepeThe Freeport Regional Sports Complex in Freeport, Fla. (east of Pensacola on the Florida Panhandle) received a USTA Florida 'Share the Love' grant in July to begin a QuickStart Tennis program for 10-and-under children. The City of Freeport Parks and Recreation Director Shane Supple teamed with USTA Florida Local League Coordinator Cindy Lozier to put the grant request together at the behest of the city.

"The community in Freeport received a land grant from a private individual to construct a sports complex, and part of the sports complex includes three hardcourts which were built last year," Lozier said. "Shane contacted USTA Florida requesting information on QuickStart Tennis for his community. This is a very small community, and Shane's enthusiasm is contagious."

USTA Florida's 'Share the Love' campaign is a $500,000 initiative on top of the organization's regular annual giving to help fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times.

"The Sports Complex in Freeport is a beautiful facility, which includes tennis courts that have been under-utilized," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Florida Panhandle region George English. "The 'Share the Love' grant has helped introduce QuickStart Tennis to children in the area, which will result in the children getting exercise while having fun, and the courts having more play."

QuickStart Tennis is the USTA-approved format for teaching children age 10-and-under, featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport.

"The Freeport complex held their first QuickStart training session on June 29 and we had 14 kids show up. By the end of the hour, all the kids were actually playing matches! I could not believe it," Lozier said. "It was just incredible. This is an area where tennis has not existed until the introduction of QuickStart."

Funding priorities for the USTA Florida 'Share the Love' initiative include QuickStart Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to QuickStart courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com.






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