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USTA Florida President's Message: Partnerships and the USPTA

September 19, 2013 12:59 PM
Bob Pfaender.jpg
USTA Florida President Bob Pfaender
Over two years ago, the USTA Florida leadership reached out to the board of directors for the USPTA Florida Division to begin discussions about forming a partnership to grow tennis together in the state of Florida.
 
For far too long there seemed to be a disconnect between the two organizations. As talks developed, it became crystal clear that whatever differences were supposedly in the way didn’t really exist at all in Florida.
 
For the last 10 years, our USTA Florida board has held one of our two annual board meetings in conjunction with the USPTA Florida state convention. This gives both groups the opportunity to interact, get to know one another, and build relationships over time. Conversely, the USPTA Florida board is invited to the USTA Florida Annual Meeting in Orlando each year to learn more about us as an organization.
 
Both organizations quickly recognized that it was time to seize the moment (carpe diem) and to draft an agreement of understanding to work together -- not separately -- on the many initiatives that can help grow tennis in our state.
 
After several iterations and discussions between our two boards, in June of 2012 at the USPTA Florida convention we both signed a Partnership Agreement to help grow tennis together in Florida.
 
Here are some highlights of this arrangement:
 
• We will continue our joint meetings together so that each group understands the strategic goals of the other;
• USTA Florida will have a USPTA Florida representative on its board of directors;
• USPTA Florida will help promote the education for their members about USTA Florida programs available to teaching professionals;
• USTA Florida will offer grants to the 17 USPTA Florida districts to help with start-up costs for 10 and Under Tennis (and other) programs;
• USPTA Florida will cover key USTA Florida initiatives in their newsletter and Baselines magazine to their membership;
• USTA Florida will continue as a sponsor of the USPTA Florida Grand Prix circuit.
 
These are a few of the points so that you can get an idea of what the spirit of this arrangement really entails. It represents a new trust and respect for one another that is imperative if we are to truly work together to grow tennis.
 
Recently at this year’s USPTA Florida convention at the PGA National Resort, our two groups met again. I am proud to say that we are putting several key initiatives/projects together that will kick off at our USTA Florida Annual Meeting in Orlando in December 2013.
 
We encourage affiliates in each organization to reach out to each other at the community level. We have five USTA Florida TPC’s (tennis program coordinators) around the state that tennis professionals should know and vice versa. We have numerous volunteers around the state that are involved in tournaments and grassroots programs. Let’s get to know each other.
 
We also encourage PTR professionals to join us in this effort. We have many resources available to help. The structure of PTR is such that we simply have not found a way yet to formalize arrangements with this group. I think this is important to note as we have many outstanding professionals in Florida that are members of each organization. Quite a few pros continue to be members of both groups. Tennis professionals are our key providers and delivery system to growing tennis at their facilities around the state. We have programs, resources, and people to help make that happen.
 
We are a great doubles team!
 
 
 
 
 

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