MILITARY HEROES - BUILDING THE COMMUNITY

VERT_DARK  
Times of war and extended military deployments can dramatically disrupt lives and stability of military personnel and their families. These challenges can also affect veterans in transition to civilian lives. Experts agree that participation in the lifetime sport of tennis is an excellent way to provide a healthy outlet for stressors, maintain physical and psychological fitness, bring families together and increase community connectivity for families in transition.
 
The USTA has been lauded by military leadership for taking a leadership role in extending recreational support to these military and veteran community members during this time of war. Community Tennis Associations can provide much needed community-level recreation at this historic time of stress and need.
 
Facts about military personnel, veterans, their families, and survivors:
  • 70 percent of active duty personnel and their families live in civilian communities away from their installations and the support provided there.
  • Every National Guard and Reserve member, our “Citizen Soldiers,“ veterans and their families and survivors live exclusively in civilian communities nationwide.
  • Military families typically move into a new civilian community every few years and seek social connectivity and recreational services.
  • Improved medical technology has resulted in more “wounded warriors” returning from battle and ultimately to their home communities rebuilding their lives as differently-abled civilians.
  • There are a projected 22.7 million U.S. Veterans, including 1.2 million who served during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.

 

SUGGESTED WAYS TO ASSIST

 
Set Spaces Aside: The easiest way to start is to set aside spaces in existing CTA programs (Youth Tennis programs, USTA League, Wheelchair programs, etc.) for participation by military and veteran family members at no cost. Decide with CTA leadership what your chapter or facility can do.
 
Conduct Special Awareness-Generating Events: Yellow Ribbon events take place with military personnel and families when their units deploy and then also when they return home. V.A. Medical Centers also host 'Welcome Home" events for all Veterans who served during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (since 9/11). These events sometimes welcome community based service-provider booths.
 

RECOMMENDED ACTION STEPS

 
Inform Staff, Volunteers and Sponsors of the Plan: Informing your team helps ensure communication of a unified message to the public. Internal awareness is a first step to brainstorming for more ways to reach more families in need.
 
Connect Directly with National Guard and Reserve Commands: Use Google or your local phone book to find a contact for these families. Contact the Public Affairs Officer, Family Readiness or State Interagency Director. These contacts can communicate directly to all families under their command.
 
Sharing Your Successes: Your efforts and successes will help other CTAs serve military and veteran family members. Report what you are doing via the USTA Foundation's website.
  VERT_LIGHT

 

Remember: Simply extending your recreational services in time of conflict is a groundbreaking effort. If a smaller number of military personnel, veterans, thier families and survivors access services you offer, it is good to have been there for them.
 
Be flexible, be creative, be patient. Every community is different.
 
If you have any questions, reach out via e-mail to: military@usta.com

 

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