Several tennis facilities and tennis professionals have just been awarded a tennis grant that will help introduce tennis to the younger generation, providing tennis lessons at no cost to the participants. For this year’s U.S. Tennis Association Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, the Caribbean section is focusing on increasing female 10 and under participation in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Three clubs have been offered the grant based on their active junior programs and will be hired by the tennis association Caribbean section to offer after school tennis instruction programming free of charge.
Equipment will be provided to all programs and a monetary incentive for those who complete all the grant requirements. The Association will also supplement the grant.
The selected clubs, professionals or facilities will need to comply by meeting requirements such as being “net generation,” approved by having a safe play certificate and a background check, having an active USTA organizational membership, timely delivery of monthly reports, and participation of all the players at a team tennis event at the end of the program. The entire grant for the territory, including the local contribution, will be close to $8,000.
Equipment will also be donated to those running the program and will include 12 child racquets (23 inch and 25 inch), tennis balls (less lively red and orange balls designed for the younger player), a portable net and shirts for all participants.
The program will run for 12 weeks, beginning around Sept. 25 or earlier and continuing until Dec. 11. At the end of the program, a team tennis event will be held on each island on Dec. 14. The categories will be ages 8 and under and 10 and under.
Kelly Kuipers, president of the VI Tennis Assoc. (VITA), said, “We are so excited to launch this program for our young players. Girls participation in tennis has been lower than the boys in recent years so we are excited to extend this great incentive to our young girls to try and narrow this gap.”
If anyone is interested in the program on St. Croix, contact either Don de Wilde at The Tennis Club of St. Croix at 277-5939 or email [email protected] Or contact The Buccaneer Tennis Shop at 712-2143 or email [email protected]. On St. Thomas, contact Terrance Jacobs at 513-9131, [email protected] or [email protected]. Sign-ups are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so call soon to reserve a place.