Wells Gets Gold Star For Work With Boys & Girls Club
2020 is the 100th anniversary of the USTA Missouri Valley, and to celebrate, the section is recognizing 100 outstanding members of our local tennis communities through monthly Gold Star awards. One of May’s winners is Jessica Wells, athletic director at the Boys & Girls Club in Wichita, Kansas.
The Boys & Girls Club provides safe environments for kids and teens through after-school programs, workshops and sports. Wells oversees the physical activity programing to encourage health and fitness. This year, she has been working with USTA Kansas to implement tennis into the club’s programming.
Kansas Tennis Service Representative Jaren Glaser has been impressed by Wells’ dedication to creating new programs for the kids, especially through tennis.
“The first time I got to meet her, she came to our community coach workshop at Riverside Tennis Center,” Glaser said. “It was just awesome because she was really interested in being able to learn tennis herself so she could offer it to the Boys & Girls Club population.”
Wells is passionate, innovative and not afraid to create something from scratch. But having the aid of the Net Generation program has helped her find a path into offering tennis to the club.
“For someone who has no prior knowledge about tennis, the Net Generation program has been very easy to follow,” Wells said. “I am very interested in introducing new sports and activities to the youth that we serve, so using this program has been an easy way to start introducing tennis to them.”
This year, Glaser and Wells had been working together to plan events that would engage kids with tennis when COVID-19 restrictions caused them to push the events back. The Boys & Girls Club was set to host a tennis camp during spring break and participate in the Wichita Tennis Open Kids Day event.
Despite these setbacks, Glaser is optimistic about what is to come.
“It’s a really cool opportunity that we’re building upon right now,” Glaser said.
Although Wells is still picking up tennis, she has a strong background in other athletics. She participated in softball and played for McPherson college before going on to coach players of all levels.
“I enjoy playing the game and having the opportunity to mentor young athletes. I hope that they can gain teamwork and leadership skills while they are doing something they love and working hard,” Wells said. “I have really enjoyed picking up some tennis because it is a new challenge. I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about it and hopefully be able to connect with youth who might have an interest in the game. It is like I am learning right there with them.”
Wells’ passion for athletics, health and fitness has pushed her to become a valuable member of the community and an incredible Net Generation provider.
“She completely lit up in that Net Generation workshop,” Glaser said. “She was a natural player. She has picked up on the curricula and really does a great job.”
When she’s not working with kids, Wells can be found gardening, listening to music, or spending time with her husband, Tommy.
USTA Kansas is proud to recognize Wells with the Gold Star Award. You can check the official list of section winners here.