St. George Jr.Team Tennis

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Barbara Jones named 2010 JTT Coordinator of the Year

Barbara Jones

     Barbara Jones, the coordinator of the St. George Jr. Team Tennis League and 2010 Jr. Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year, may have had to use her imagination a bit more than others to find the potential for tennis in her small rural community, but her efforts have had extraordinary results.
     Barbara was first introduced to tennis in 2007 as a recreational player after she and her husband relocated to South Carolina from New York. She enjoyed the sport immensely, and soon began thinking of ways to share it with the youth of her community. She began by reaching out to the local middle school and starting an after-school tennis program focused on tennis play although courts were a problem. All that was available for use were two courts, both of which were unusable, overtaken by weeds, and in dire need of re-surfacing. Undaunted, Barbara worked with the St. George mayor and local government, Rotary Club, various community leaders, and volunteers to clean up the area around the courts and raise the funds needed for court re-surfacing. At the same time, she also contacted USTA South Carolina for assistance and applied for a USTA Public Facility Assistance grant to help with her courts, registered for the Adopt-A-School program to receive child-sized equipment, and attended the Community Tennis Development Workshop to gain inspiration, training, and knowledge of Jr. Team Tennis.
     Jr. Team Tennis was the perfect fit for Barbara’s afterschool tennis group. It provided a structured recreational tennis league focused on fun, fitness and friends with flexibility in price, schedule, and format for all the children involved. USTA resources such as QuickStart Tennis practice plans and workshops made it easier for Barbara to recruit coaches and volunteers in St. George, a community that had put tennis on the back burner.
     In 2010, Barbara’s efforts came to fruition as her season launched with approximately 60 children registered in the spring. The success of that spring season was followed by another 60 player season in the fall as well as a Rising Stars tournament/community fair on October 30, 2010 named the "Pumpkin Match". St. George’s place as a tennis town was made official this December as it became the location for South Carolina’s newest registered Community Tennis Association. Barbara’s enthusiasm for tennis, children, and her town is a continual inspiration for all involved in Jr. Team Tennis.