Making a Difference for Kids
February 28, 2011
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA and First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign have teamed up to encourage young people across the country to get active, try tennis and lead healthy lifestyles. Components of the collaboration include a new public service announcement to air nationwide, the construction and renovation of thousands of tennis courts across the country and the commitment to encourage 200,000 children to participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.
“It’s important for kids to get the hour of active play they need every day, and there are so many fun things that each of us can do to be healthier,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Thanks to programs like the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis initiative, it’s easier than ever for kids to get active and have fun. And that’s a big part of what we’re doing with Let’s Move!, America’s campaign to raise a healthier generation of kids.”
“Tennis is the sport of opportunity. With our new 10 and Under initiative, tennis is also the newest ‘pick-up sport’ where kids can play in schools, in parks, at clubs, and even at home,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “Our new collaboration with the First Lady and ‘Let’s Move!’ will help us reach more families to teach them that tennis is easier to learn and access than ever before.”
Working with the Office of the First Lady, the USTA is launching a public service announcement to promote tennis as part of the 60 minutes of play a day kids need. The PSA features First Lady Michelle Obama, Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf, all of whom play the role of ballpersons for youngsters playing tennis on courts and with equipment correctly sized for them. Ensuring that children compete with properly sized equipment and on smaller courts is a key component of the USTA’s new 10 and Under Tennis initiative designed to make tennis easier, more accessible and more fun. 10 and Under Tennis is real tennis brought to scale for the sport’s youngest participants, with slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, lighter and smaller racquets, and shorter courts.
The USTA plans to create both a 60-second and a 30-second version of this PSA. Initial plans call for the PSA to be used in tennis programming on CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel. The PSA will go into broader rotation during the summer months leading up to the US Open, which takes place from August 29 through September 11.
Additionally, the USTA, through its facilities assistance arm, is committed to constructing and renovating 3,000 tennis courts across the country in 2011. As part of this program, all courts that are built or renovated will be lined to enable use in the QuickStart Tennis play format. As part of a public-private partnership, the USTA will build the courts in places where local officials, public parks and schools commit to building tennis into their core programming for kids. The USTA has created a website – USTA.com/facilities – for those groups interested in applying for court construction or renovation and learning more about this major initiative. For more information on 10 & Under Tennis, visit 10andundertennis.com.
In another component of the collaboration, the USTA will use its national resources and programs to encourage 200,000 kids to take the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), which encourages young Americans to be active 60 minutes a day, five days a week for six weeks in an eight-week period. PALA’s national goal is to get one million youngsters to take this challenge. The USTA plans to activate its National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, which has 602 chapters impacting more than 250,000 kids, to meet this goal.
“Tennis Night in America” featuring the “BNP Paribas Showdown” on February 28th will serve as the kick-off event for the 2011 tennis season across the country. More than 600 tennis facilities will be participating in the USTA’s third annual National Youth Registration initiative, a month-long event. Tennis Night in America will serve as “opening day” for facilities to sign up children for spring and summer programs, with youth registration events around the country encouraging parents to get involved by volunteering and for everyone to learn more about tennis.