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Southern Member Organization of the Year

December 18, 2002 03:45 PM

Greater Baton Rouge Community Tennis Association
Baton Rouge, LA

Formally organized as an association in April 1998, the Greater Baton Rouge CTA is an umbrella CTA that has five local CTA’s operating in their area. These local CTA’s include Slidell, Mandeville/Covington, Ascension, Hammond and Denham Springs. During its first three years it focused primarily on coordinating and administrating local adult USA League Tennis play. Today they have evolved to become much more than a conduit to play in Adult Leagues. The primary mission this past year was an outreach program to bring tennis to elementary and middle school students and their focus was to bring the game to students who would not normally be exposed to the sport. Over the past year they have formed a taskforce with the help of other tennis organizations to help them attain their mission.

The Greater Baton Rouge Tennis Association has done much work with the local community. This past year they brought tennis to the youth of the city by creating tennis facilities through portable nets and marking off tennis court dimensions in paved areas at schools, Boys and Girls clubs, Big Buddy Programs and YMCA sites. The total cost of this endeavor totaled $1,700, but the exposure to tennis was priceless. The CTA is also heavily involved in multicultural programs, introducing the USA Team Tennis program to students in Baton Rouge’s inner city schools. The CTA has also awarded over 300 scholarships to children from low-income families enabling them to participate in tennis camps and programs. It was also instrumental in the formation of the Baton Rouge NJTL Chapter. For its efforts, the CTA received numerous “Volunteer Awards” and grants. Monies from the grants were used to purchase tennis equipment and pay instructors.

Membership has steadily been on the upswing since the CTA was founded. With programs for both adult and junior players, the CTA has plenty to offer. For its youngest players, the CTA assisted in the running of a USA Tennis Free for All in the spring 2002. It worked diligently with the universities in the Baton Rouge area to get USA Tennis 1-2-3 on their campuses. In addition, it promoted the 123 programs to surrounding country clubs and tennis facilities. In the past year participation numbers for this program more than doubled. The USA School Tennis program has also been heavily promoted to local elementary and junior high schools. In 2002, eight schools were connected and more were provide training and tennis equipment, including racquets and balls. Another junior program being actively pushed is USA Youth Team Tennis. The CTA more than met is goal of 1,462 participants in 2002 – blowing away its 2001 participation numbers of 613.

Originally its “bread and butter,” the Greater Baton Rouge Tennis Association still has an active and expanding Adult USA League Tennis program. It offers mixed, combo, adult and senior league play and it also has a “Fun League” program during the Fall season. Year after year the adult league program always enjoys a slight increase in player participation.

In an attempt to stay current, the CTA has an excellent website (http://www.batonrougetennis.com), providing a wealth of information about its youth and adult programs and leagues, community tennis news and other important information for tennis enthusiasts in the Baton Rouge area. It has made great strides in 2002 developing and growing tennis at all ages and ability levels and has also worked hard with other communities to help them grow their tennis programs.

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