July 19th, 2018
How to Volunteer in Tennis: USTA Florida Executive Director Laura Bowen
Looking to make an impact, grow the game of tennis, reduce stress and add value and benefit to your life?
Tennis volunteers are essential to USTA Florida’s mission to grow the game and get all types of players on courts, from Special Olympics athletes to wheelchair players, adult, youth, and everything in between.
“We started as a volunteer organization — volunteers essentially built USTA Florida,” says USTA Florida Executive Director Laura Bowen.
“We’ve added staff over time, but the heart and soul of the organization has always been volunteers. They’re the ones out in the community and they make what we do possible, because you can’t accomplish growing tennis across an entire state with just a handful of staff.”
Established in 1949, the USTA Florida Section of the United States Tennis Association was run solely by volunteers for more than the first 25 years of the organization’s existence. Volunteers continue to drive the growth of tennis programs and initiatives in the Sunshine State.
“The volunteers are the reason we’ve been innovative and moved forward,” Bowen says. “The better we are at bringing new volunteers in and bringing new ideas in, the better our organization is going to be, and the better were going to be able to grow. We’ve seen Millennials coming out and volunteering at events like Special Olympics tennis — you don’t have to volunteer every weekend, you can volunteer two, three times a year and really have a substantial impact.”
New events have come out of volunteer involvement in 2018.
“In Jacksonville we went up and did a military event at NAS Jax for 150 people, some of who had never touched a racquet before, and the idea for that event came from a volunteer,” Bowen says. “A veteran who used to play tennis on those courts brought the idea to us and said, ‘This would be really meaningful…and a way for new people on the base to meet each other in a low-pressure environment with a fun, family tennis event.’ It shows how what we do really stems from our volunteers’ involvement in the community.
Anyone who wants to volunteer for us, we are looking for skills across the board. We will find a place for you in our organization.”
To learn more or to volunteer in Florida tennis go to www.USTAFlorida.com/Volunteer.