Next Generation Workshop
Erin Maher | October 17, 2017
Providing opportunities and exposure to the game of tennis is imperative to keep the sport growing. The USTA recently honored those that have dedicated their time and efforts to providing play opportunities in their local communities and youth. The 2017 honorees came from all backgrounds and sections to be recognized for their outstanding dedication to growing tennis at a local level.
They were honored at the 2017 Next Generation Workshop, held Oct. 13-15, at the Renaissance Orlando at Sea World in Orlando.
Meet the honorees (click on the headlines in bold to view video):
Hollis Smith of Indio, Calif., was presented with the Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award. The award is given annually to individuals who perpetuate tennis pioneer Eve F. Kraft’s selfless mission to bring the sport of tennis to everyone who wants to play.
Smith has been a fixture in the Southern California tennis world for more than five decades, playing an integral role in making tennis available to minorities in Los Angeles. An engineer by trade who moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college, Smith fell in love with the sport and went on to win a number of senior titles.
Off the court, he served as the president of both the Los Angeles Municipal Tennis Association and the National Public Parks Tennis Championships, and he helped organize the local chapter of the NJTL.
“Hollis is truly a pioneer of the game of tennis in the Southern California community,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “Hollis’ impact on the game has been invaluable and his commitment to the growth of tennis is unmatched.”
This is not the first time Smith is being recognized by the USTA for his efforts. In 2002, the National Public Parks Tennis Association and the USTA established the Hollis Smith Sportsmanship Award, with Smith being the first honoree. Later, the recognition was changed to the Hollis Smith Lifetime Achievement Award.
Deby Caldwell of Columbus, Ga., was presented with the 2017 Janet Louer USTA Jr. Team Tennis Organizer of the Year Award. The award was founded to recognize individuals who positively influences children’s lives and substantially impact their community.
Caldwell currently works with the Columbus Regional Tennis Association (CORTA), serving as the director of junior programs. She oversees a number of JTT programs throughout the year, with more than 700 players participating this year.
In addition, Caldwell is the lead instructor for CORTA’s TennisWorks in the Schools program, which is an outreach program for at-risk kids. Caldwell has formed groups such as the CORTA Junior Teen Council, which strives to give back to the community through tennis, as well as the Tennis Pro Task Force, which aims to form a more efficient relationship between CORTA and local tennis professionals.
“Deby has shown a tremendous dedication and commitment to growing junior tennis in the Columbus community and beyond,” said Kamperman. “We applaud her efforts and are proud to recognize her with this honor.”
The Columbus Regional Tennis Association was honored with the 2017 Community Tennis Association of the Year award. The award honors a CTA for outstanding service in growing and developing the sport of tennis in its community.
The Columbus Regional Tennis Association (CORTA), formerly known as the Columbus Tennis Patrons, was originally founded in 1952 to help contribute money to the building of the original 12 courts at Cooper Creek Tennis Center. Currently, CORTA functions as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, development and support of tennis in the region.
Through programs, tournaments and other organized events; CORTA has been able to support a rather remarkable variety of tennis activities. Since the fall of 1994, the association has grown from 120 members to more than 2,300.
“The Columbus Regional Tennis Association defines what it means to be a great CTA,” said Kamperman. “For 65 years, CORTA has worked tirelessly to introduce tennis to the masses and they continue to develop programs for all ages and abilities for all current and future tennis enthusiasts. We are proud to honor the organization’s leaders and many volunteers with this well-deserved award.”
The East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring (EPATT), located in Palo Alto, Calif., was recognized as the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Chapter of the Year. The award is given annually to chapter and programs to reward those organizations that are able to do more with less.
EPATT’s program has been in existence for more than 20 years. Its mission is changing the trajectory of youth in the community through student advocacy, parent coaching, academic tutoring and tennis instruction. EPATT serves as a national model for tennis and education programs and has had a strong, positive influence on the national NJTL network through the capacity building program.
“We are proud to honor the work being done by East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring ,” said Kamperman. “EPATT is an outstanding example of how NJTL continues to impact today’s youth by delivering programs that emphasize not only tennis, but also character and education.”