2021 Community Champions: Dream Court receives Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award
WATCH: Profile on Dream Court
On Dec. 8, the USTA's Celebrating Community Champions virtual ceremony honored 2021 award-winners in a variety of service-based categories. During the event, each honoree received a surprise virtual call from a tennis legend as a thank-you for their contributions to growing the game of tennis both locally and nationally.
Dream Court of Montgomery, Ala., is the recipient of the 2021 USTA National Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award, bestowed in recognition of continued excellence, dedication and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community. The award was presented by Jim Courier on Wednesday.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Dream Court founder and director Jessica Weyreuter made the decision to resign from her position as the Director of Junior Tennis at the Montgomery Country Club in order to devote her full time and attention to running Dream Court’s adaptive tennis program.
When in-person play was suspended, Dream Court had to adapt to ensure its valuable programming could still reach its more than 80 athletes. This included regular FaceTime check-ins as well as a socially-distanced car parade. Dream Court also launched virtually tennis programming that kept its athletes engaged with the sport and each other, providing a safe and fun fitness and tennis environment designed for community building.
Each virtual session started with an icebreaker, followed by a presentation from a special guest speaker and continued by sharing a Dream Court Tennis video. For the bulk of the virtual meeting, the group was divided into smaller breakout groups where coaches and volunteers were prepared to guide the participants through the workout and adjust the intensity modifying the exercises to fit the different levels. Towards the end of the breakout sessions, the word of the day was discussed giving the athletes a time to share what they had learned.
The virtual sessions also included sign language video tutorials, as well as dance video tutorials for the community to learn and practice together. The highlight of the virtual camp was Buddy Day, in which each athlete was paired with a local volunteer to complete a tennis workout together. Buddy Day was all about getting to know each other, breaking down barriers and inclusion. After a year of virtual programming, Dream Court is happy to have returned to the courts and resumed in-person programming, but has great memories from its virtual sessions.
“We’re thrilled to honor Dream Court and its remarkable team for their outstanding dedication and commitment to their athletes,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “Dream Court has done an extraordinary job creating a program where inclusion is at the forefront, teaching their athletes skills that will help them succeed on and off the court.”
The USTA Adaptive Tennis National Community Service Award was established in 2003. To qualify for a program award, the program must have been in existence for a minimum of three consecutive years and be either a registered USTA adaptive tennis program or have an affiliation to USTA Adaptive Tennis. To qualify for an individual award, the recipient must have worked with an adaptive tennis program for a minimum of three consecutive years.
The USTA Semi-Annual Meeting and Conference bring together USTA leadership, national staff, national committee members and section volunteers and staff in pursuit of the USTA mission: to promote and develop the growth of tennis. Along with leadership and committee meetings, the USTA Semi-Annual Meeting provides education opportunities for all attendees to develop and enhance their personal and professional skills and learn new ways to promote the game of tennis.