Changing the Game

May 23, 2024, Department, by Bret Gaither

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NRPA and USTA partner to serve active, healthy communities

NRPA is joining forces with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) — the national governing body for the sport of tennis and the leader in promoting and developing the sport’s growth on every level in the United States — to celebrate the vital role of parks and recreation and tennis in promoting health and wellness in communities nationwide. The partnership comes on the heels of USTA unveiling its new purpose-driven mission statement — growing tennis to inspire healthier communities everywhere — making this new collaboration even more exciting.

One of the ways we are collaborating is through NRPA’s Park and Recreation Month — an annual celebration dedicated to recognizing park and recreation professionals, part-time and seasonal workers, and volunteers who support our country’s local, state and community parks. This year’s theme — “Where You Belong” — calls attention to the many ways park and recreation agencies across the country foster a sense of belonging. USTA, as the presenting sponsor, along with Active Network and Bobcat as this year’s supporting sponsors, are helping NRPA highlight this work along with all the diverse recreational offerings available through park and recreation agencies nationwide, including tennis facilities.

Beyond Park and Recreation Month, USTA is one of NRPA’s first non-governmental organization (NGO) sports partners. At NRPA, we believe that all people — no matter their race, ethnicity, ability, age, gender identity, household income or interests — deserve equitable access to high-quality sports opportunities. As one of the largest providers of organized and unorganized sports programs across the country, park and recreation agencies can make this vision a reality. We can harness this potential and advance solutions that increase play equity in communities nationwide by working with partners like USTA, which is committed to equity and leveling the playing field of opportunity for all. By aligning on this initiative, NRPA and USTA, along with future NGO sports partners, will be poised to make a lasting impact on the field of parks and recreation and sports at all levels of play.

USTA also will serve as this year’s Health and Wellness Pillar sponsor. Pillar sponsors support NRPA’s work through its Three Pillars: Health and Wellness, Equity, and Conservation. The Health and Wellness Pillar underscores NRPA’s commitment to promoting physical and mental health through access to physical activities and nutrition opportunities offered through park and recreation agencies acting as Community Wellness Hubs. As the Health and Wellness Pillar sponsor, USTA will help NRPA advance its work toward this commitment all year long.

The collaboration between NRPA and USTA celebrates the ability of parks and recreation and the game of tennis to foster active, healthy communities nationwide and promotes inclusive access to recreational opportunities. We aim to inspire positive change; empower individuals of all ages and backgrounds to lead healthier, more active lifestyles; and ensure parks, recreation centers and tennis courts nationwide continue to serve as vibrant and inclusive spaces for community engagement and physical activity for generations to come.

Bret Gaither is Senior Directorof Development at NRPA.