Dwight Davis NJTL
Amber Gerdes | August 2, 2019
The USTA Foundation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Junior Tennis & Learning network this year. In honor of the event, USTA Missouri Valley got in touch with the Dwight Davis Memorial Tennis Center's NJTL chapter led by Jess Campbell. Dwight Davis Memorial Tennis Center has poured into the Saint Louis community through their NJTL program, showing exemplary dedication to the academic and athletic excellence of local youth whether on or off the tennis court.
The program sees 50-75 kids each summer and takes place over a five to ten-day period every summer for the past six years, where kids learn the foundational skills of tennis, grow their games, and enjoy a fun week playing tennis with kids of all ages and backgrounds.
The Dwight Davis NJTL program seeks to introduce the game and provide an enjoyable tennis opportunity to local children at no cost. ADVERTISEMENT They also work with a program called Better Family Life, which buses all kids in to the park for free.
The Dwight Davis NJTL chapter is funded through grants from USTA St. Louis, making it possible for their programs to provide free tennis for underserved youth in St. Louis.
USTA.com: How did you get your start in tennis?
Jess Campbell: My parents started throwing balls to me in my driveway at age 3 and I’ve played ever since.
USTA.com: How did you first get involved with NJTL?
Campbell: I got involved 6 years ago when I started the NJTL program after working with an organization called Better Family Life. They wanted to do a short tennis program for their kids in summer, and I wanted to try to help find them funding for future years.
USTA.com: Why is NJTL important to you?
Campbell: It’s important to provide exposure to tennis for those who normally wouldn’t have access to it.
USTA.com: How do you as a program go about investing in kids on a deeper level that goes beyond just playing tennis?
Campbell: For three years we taught kids how to garden in a small city space, so they could learn to grow fresh vegetables. We also had a short unit on nutrition and the science of growing plants.
USTA.com: What has your NJTL program accomplished since it begam?
Campbell: We have successfully funded and hosted this program every summer for six years now. The Dwight Davis Tennis Center program is currently the only NJTL program going on at Dwight Davis, and they have high hopes for future growth.
For questions about getting involved with the Dwight Davis Tennis Center NJTL program, contact Jess Campbell at email@example.com. For further questions about additional NJTL programs in St. Louis, contact your Tennis Service Representative, Sue Riemann, at firstname.lastname@example.org.