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National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL)


National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL)

The USTA/National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) is a nationwide network of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education.  Founded in 1969 by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell, and Sheridan Snyder, this growing network of tennis providers share similar values, ideals, and goals by:

• reaching out to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play the sport
• instilling in youngsters the values of leadership and academic excellence
• giving all kids (regardless of income, race, gender) the opportunity to fully develop their tennis skills so they can derive a life time of enjoyment from the sport

The NJTL is a great way for kids to get exercise, make friends, and have fun in a team-oriented and safe environment.  NJTL's offer a variety of on and off-court programming, emphasizing educational and life-skill components to enhance overall development.  This curriculum is offered at little or no cost to the participant.  Many of the costs associated with running a program are decentralized by in-kind and monetary support from the USTA, allowing for local chapters/programs to provide high-quality programming for their constituents.  With over 520 registered chapters/programs throughout the nation and 200,000 participants aged 6 – 18, chances are there is a program in your community.

Jesus Hernandez prepares to hit a forehand volley during a VAMOS/NJTL practice. (Photo courtesy Jim Thompson, Albuquerque Journal).

a) Arthur Ashe Essay Contest
To help commemorate the legacy of humanitarian and tennis great Arthur Ashe, USTA/NJTL sponsors an annual contest that gives children two ways to participate - with the written word or through artwork. Winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York to be guests at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, a daylong festival of kids’ tennis activities that includes interactive games, musical entertainment and free clinics that is always held the weekend prior to the US Open. For programs that would like to administer a contest, USTA/NJTL offers a Guide to Conducting an Essay Contest to help with planning and logistics. 

READ ABOUT THE 2011 Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest. Entries are held each year and are typically due in early July.

b) Tennis Leadership Camp (TLC)
The TLC is a wonderful opportunity for NJTL participants to experience an intense week of training, emphasizing individual skills development, physical fitness, proper nutrition, good sportsmanship and other healthy attitudes.  At the Camp, kids will meet other kids that love tennis, train with experienced pros, participate in a career counseling night, interact with special guest speakers, and visit local area attractions. 

Created in 1984 to provide an educational as well as motivational tennis experience for NJTL participants who could not afford such an opportunity, the goal of the Camp is to provide NJTL participants a chance to be part of a life lasting tennis and social experience.

USTA Southwest has expanded upon this concept and began to run Section NJTL Leadership Camps for those active in NJTL. For more information, contact Becky Lee at lee@southwest.usta.com.

c) Regional Rallies  Established in 1988, the Rallies are one of NJTL’s longest running and most successful offerings.  Each year, NJTL provides grants and equipment to selected Chapters/Programs that have the means to host a day or weekend tennis event extravaganza for NJTL participants in the local and neighboring areas.

USTA/NJTL provides a Regional Rally Host Kit which helps the host site with planning and tournament details. The Regional Rallies serve as both a reward for active Chapters and Programs, and an incentive for new communities.

To join the NJTL Network.  To host a Regional Rally, you must apply. The grants and equipment are available to chapters/programs that are active NJTLs and USTA members. 

d) USTA NJTL of the Year Award The USTA continues its tradition of honoring outstanding program work in presenting the annual NJTL of the Year Award to NJTL chapters/programs that have demonstrated continued excellence in youth tennis programming. The award is open to those NJTLs that have conducted a program for a minimum of three consecutive years and is an active organizational member of the USTA.  National winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to the USTA’s Community Tennis Development Workshop.

e) Capacity Building Program  Often, mid-size NJTL chapters/programs seeking to expand their impact and reach into the community need a little guidance.  Before they can provide more programming or take on a greater number of kids, they must first develop additional management capabilities. The Capacity Building Program is designed to provide long-term assistance to selected chapters that are committed to achieving significant qualitative and quantitative growth and to developing management capabilities necessary to achieve their goals. Chapters/Programs are selected at the end of each year through a competitive application process.

On-line registration system is now available on USTA.com.  You can access the site by going to http://njtl.usta.com, or by logging on to www.usta.com and selecting the NJTL link. Once you are on the NJTL homepage, scroll down to the Registration Form section and click the link at the end of the paragraph.  

For more information about Community Tennis in your area, contact your USTA Southwest Tennis Service Representative Becky Lee via e-mail at lee@southwest.usta.com.

More Information on NJTL
VAMOS NJTL Program of Albuquerque




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