Catching Up with Our High School Ambassadors
This year has looked different for the Mid-Atlantic, especially for the young high school tennis players in the section. To help youth across the region stay engaged, connected, and encouraged to play tennis, the USTA Mid-Atlantic launched the #ServeItForward High School Ambassador program. For three months the ambassadors participated in activities ranging from developing and publishing social media content to participating in the #ServeItForward Junior Team Summer Community Challenge - all with the goal of fostering health, connections, communication, and community among high schoolers through tennis.
We caught up with our ambassadors to hear their perspective on the inaugural ambassador program.
USTA Mid-Atlantic: What's your full name?
High School Ambassadors: Alex Brandon, Jack Alexander Clauss, Andrew Hannan, Lilliana Matthew, Bradley Mathenge Mwaliru, Grace Truong, and Derek Yan
Where are do you live?
Palmyra, VA; Bethesda, MD; Baltimore, MD; Silver Spring, MD; Frederick MD; Burke, VA; Potomac, MD
What high school do you attend, grade?
Charlottesville High School, Junior; Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Junior; Gilman School, Freshman; Spring Brook High School, Sophomore; Frederick High School, Junior; Lake Braddock Secondary, Senior; Winston Churchill High School, Junior
In your own words, tell us about the USTA and the High School ambassador program?
The United States Tennis Association (USTA), is a non-profit organization with nearly 700,000 members and is the national governing body of tennis in the United States. The organization is composed of 17 sections of which USTA Mid-Atlantic is one of the sections. The USTA’s goal is to improve the health of the community by promoting and developing the growth of tennis.
Wanting to complete said goal gave rise to the #ServeItForward Mid-Atlantic High School Ambassador Program, which is currently composed of two administrators and seven student-athletes. An ambassador’s job is to act as a leader in order to excite, engage, and welcome more youth from all communities to tennis by using social media.
The ambassador program is important to the work of the USTA because, in this current day and age, a large percentage of the children are more educated in the use of modern technology than previous generations. Ambassadors have an opportunity to spread USTA’s impact further by conveying important information through social media posts. - Bradley
Tell me about being an ambassador?
I love being an ambassador and meeting players across the Mid-Atlantic region has been very enjoyable. I have even made a good friend, whom I have discussed the results of recent grand slams with. - Alex
I also enjoy using my social platform to engage with the tennis community and encourage future generations to get involved and love the sport of tennis. I've gotten the opportunity to be featured in one of the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Blogs and share my story for the junior scholarship program. - Grace
Being an ambassador is a really fun and exciting experience. I have learned a lot about how the USTA functions including current projects, future goals, and the specific role that each individual plays. Another part of being an ambassador is getting to know other ambassadors and their initiatives in the local community. Having like-minded peers help us problem solve more effectively and propel all of our own tennis community activities to the next level. - Derek
What’s your favorite part of being an ambassador?
I enjoy the biweekly meetings where I can talk with other students across the Mid-Atlantic section about tennis-related matters, which I normally can't do with my group of friends. I also enjoy promoting a healthy lifestyle and trying to help others find a new method of exercise and a lifetime passion. - Jack
My favorite part of being an ambassador is being able to give back to the tennis community and encourage future generations of tennis to enjoy and love the sport. - Derek
How has being an ambassador helped you to get out and play after COVID-19 restrictions lifted?
Being an ambassador helped me because tennis was one of the only sports I could play while social distancing. Also, I was able to continue promoting tennis and telling people it’s ok to get out and play. - Lilliana
I was encouraged when I saw other people getting out and playing. I became more motivated to get out and play and post about tennis on social media. - Andrew
What are your thoughts on how tennis can help in other areas off the courts (ie - school, relationships, etc)?
Tennis relates to life in so many ways. It teaches you mental strength and resilience. I think that is key to anything you want to do. - Andrew
Tennis teaches organization and time management. You learn to balance school, homework, family, and friends.- Lilliana
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get involved (as an ambassador or with USTA/tennis, etc)?
It's a great program to be involved in; you get to meet new people, you get to promote the sport of tennis with your social platform, and you get to benefit and give back to the tennis community. - Grace
Pick up a racquet and play. Don't be afraid to reach out to others in your community and try to create a tennis network with your friends and family. Reach out to those you know in the program and network. - Jack
Following this successful first High School ambassador program, we will be looking for more ambassadors this summer. Visit our High School Tennis page for more information on #ServeItForward Ambassadors and High School Tennis around the Mid-Atlantic.
The USTA Mid-Atlantic believes that tennis is for EVERYONE and encourages people of all ages to get out and play, particularly as the colder months arrive. Check out our information on indoor tennis to help you play indoors safely.