The USTA Florida board of directors launched a brand-new initiative to recruit new volunteers for the section and increase engagement of current volunteers at the local and section level. The USTA Florida Leadership Academy includes a volunteer development program designed to grow the professional skills and organizational knowledge of potential future leaders, equipping them with valuable leadership qualities that would make them an asset to the organization.

 “I am excited about USTA Florida’s new Leadership Academy initiative for several reasons,” said USTA Florida President Clark Higgs. “Any time we can provide personal development opportunities for our players, members, volunteers and staff it will be of great benefit to USTA Florida.”

The USTA Florida Leadership Academy offers those looking to develop leadership skills and business knowledge a new option to do so. The Academy provides participants with the chance to advance their careers while serving others, with the added opportunities to network with business and sports leaders across the state of Florida.  The Academy also offers anyone who enjoys watching or playing tennis the chance to get involved in the sport.

“We’re very excited to launch this new program, which is just one part of our new volunteer recruitment and engagement program,” said USTA Florida Executive Director Laura Bowen. “USTA Florida has a rich history as a volunteer-led organization, and I’m looking forward to building a new class of diverse volunteers to help lead us into the future.”

Participants in the Academy will learn everything from advocacy and teambuilding to communication and management through a series of modules designed to align the strengths and skills of the volunteers with the capacity in which they operate in the organization.

“There is a recurring problem throughout the tennis industry – most of our players, volunteers, teaching pros, administrators and anybody else associated with being a provider in any form has been around for a long time,” said Higgs. “As this group gets older, they start to get into other phases of their lives that do not revolve as much around the game of tennis. This circumstance is the reason that the Leadership Academy, along with our Volunteer Engagement Initiative, are critical to our future success. We recognize that identifying, recruiting and developing the next generation of leaders will enable us to continue to grow the ‘game of a lifetime’.”

USTA Florida is seeking 30 motivated and diverse individuals to join the 2020 Leadership Academy Class. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and a current resident of Florida to apply. Tennis experience or knowledge is not required, but applicants should be passionate about serving the tennis industry.

“The Academy will allow the Florida Section to develop programs tailored to these new leaders so they can get appropriate training and education in order to continue the valuable work done by so many previous volunteers,” said Higgs. “It will be great to see the fresh young faces come through this Academy and put their ideas to work for the benefit of the Section and the game of tennis.”

The Academy includes two in-person workshops in Orlando, that will take place November 22-23, 2019, and May 29-30, 2020. There will be a series of online learning modules between workshops. The application deadline is September 30, 2019.