While Yukon tennis players grab more wins each season, like recently winning indoor tourney titles in Juneau, Tennis Yukon is logging victories of its own.
The governing body received a Rookie Community of the Year award last week. It was given to Tennis Yukon because of its involvement in Tennis Canada’s three-year Building Tennis Communities program in which the organization has participated since 2008. It is one of only four awards Building Tennis Communities gives out each year.
“To some extent, we showed improvement because we started from zero,” said Stacy Lewis, president of Tennis Yukon. “The big thing for them is that they want to see developing partnerships and relationships, which we have. We have a strong and ever-growing relationship with the city, with parks and rec lessons, and we have various tennis-in-school, phys-ed classes every term.
“And we achieved our goal of getting year-round programming for tennis and hiring a head coach, building a website - all those things led to the award.
“They also liked that we got involved in a few out of the ordinary things. We were an activity at Polar Games last year, so that involved over 500 10- and 11-year-olds that got to try tennis. They like to see that kind of engagement, trying to reach out in the community.”
Another big step forward for the organization was increasing its amount of instructors, going from just one to four when Tennis Yukon brought Level 5 instructor Gerry Macken up from BC to certify new instructors. With year-round activity in progress Tennis Yukon brought on a full time coach, Jan Polivka.
As part of the award, Lewis will be attending Community Development Workshops put on by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in San Diego this weekend.
“Because the USTA is so big, they can divide up their conferences, so this is community tennis only - grassroots participation,” said Lewis. “It’s building your after-school program, ways to market ‘Quick-start tennis,’ which is what they call it in the US, and building partnerships, writing grant applications.”
Lewis has particular interest in attending a workshop on facilities with special attention towards northern communities.
“I think that’s the most relevant to us right now,” said Lewis. “The facilities workshop will have some good ideas because there’s a lot of case-studies from other winter communities.
“(We’ll discuss) how to keep your outdoor courts nice, what do you do if you have to use gymnasiums, can you get a bubble - covered courts - going? All that kind of stuff.”
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