Middle States

It's All About Inclusivity

USTA Middle States Captain of the Month - August 2020
Central Pennsylvania District

Melissa Landis began captaining in 2007.


After Melissa started playing USTA League on a few ladies 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 teams, she thought about the possibility of leading a team with a specific goal in mind. 


“I wanted to start a team where it was competitive, yet social and people got a lot of opportunity to play,” she said.


And Melissa has certainly been working towards that goal ever since. Melissa currently captains a mixed doubles 8.0 18+ and 40 + team where her “have fun” mentality has been working in her favor. Married couples play together that might not get the chance to play if they competed on highly competitive teams, so she makes it her mission to have everyone play to have fun.


But Melissa’s all-inclusive mentality goes beyond captaining tennis.


As part of the Central Pa. District Council in Lititz, Pa., she helped start an adaptive tennis program called “All-In Adaptive Tennis” held at Linden Hall School for Girls, where she also serves as the assistant coach for the girls’ tennis team. The program is designed to support and promote tennis for any individuals up to age 21 with physical, mental or emotional challenges.


With the program just starting this past January, Melissa was thrilled to see the progress with the program in just a few short months.

“The program started out great,” she said. “The USTA Middle States grant enabled us to buy the equipment that we needed, and we were actually able to secure a donation of a tennis wheelchair.


Her volunteer work extends even further into her community. For the past 7 years, Melissa has been helping run a New Year’s Benefit at Racquet Club West to honor a tennis friend who lost his battle with cancer. All funds that are raised during the tennis event are donated to a local family that has struggled with cancer.


Melissa has given back to players and her community in so many ways but again, her selflessness has shown that it’s all about helping the community.


“The tennis community always rises to the occasion,” she said. “If there is a need, it’s met.”

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