Trip Summary On USTA Outreach

Recent update on the WWTP Program:
Co-Founder, Steve Kappes, recently returned from a trip to the US Open as he serves on the USTA Adaptive Tennis Commitee.  The following is a recap and overview about how the USTA is expanding their reach into the military community by holding weekly veterans clinics, similar to what Wounded Warriors Tennis Program in San Diego does.
Steve Kappes trip summary:
I just returned from New York City where I attended the USTA Semi-Annual Meeting and Conference.  I serve on the national Adaptive Tennis Committee throughout the year, and much of my time in NY was spent working with my committee members to advance tennis programming that improves the lives of people of all ages in all disability groups across the country (Autism, Down syndrome, Special Olympics, and many other cognitive/developmental/physical impairments, etc).
Of course, I’m always networking with the hundreds of other national volunteers and USTA staff members to promote military outreach and tennis programs for disabled service members and veterans, and it’s paying off.  In addition to increasing awareness of what we are doing in San Diego and making contacts for future funding and support, I was happy to learn that the USTA’s weekly veterans tennis clinics at the National Campus in Orlando are going strong (similar to our weekly program but without lunches), and the USTA staff held their 7th Military Appreciation Day at the US Open on Monday.  NBC Nightly News ran a segment on Monday that combines footage from the USTA’s veterans program in Orlando with footage from the veterans clinic the USTA ran at the US Open.  If we had we sent a few of our veterans to the US Open, they would have been included in the events of the day:
Here’s the link to the NBC segment —  you have to scroll down to Full Broadcasts, select “Nightly News Full Broadcast September 3rd” on the right, then advance the video to the 18:15 mark:
Here’s a related video the USTA produced:
Here’s a link to an article that describes other things that were planned for and happened that day:
And here are other military appreciation photos from throughout the day:
I had to be in a morning meeting in Manhattan when the all veterans’ on-court activity was going on, but I did get to the US Open later in the day, and I met all the Warriors including (surprise!) a few I knew from our own San Diego Annual Camp.
While I was there, I also met Bill Hannigan, who is the #2 guy for Adaptive Programs at the Wounded Warrior Project HQ in Florida.  The USTA national staff is establishing a partnership with WWP at the national level to grow more tennis programs for WWP-affiliated veterans (called “alumni”) across the country.  Bill and his boss will be in San Diego for the VA’s Summer Sports Clinic in a few weeks, and I invited them to visit our Warrior clinic on Tues Sep 18th to meet us and check it out if their schedule permits.
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Who we are

We are the San Diego Wounded Warrior Tennis Program.

We are not the Wounded Warrior Project. Not even close.

We are a tennis-based rehabilitation program of the San Diego District Tennis Association, in collaboration with Naval Medical Center San Diego, VA Medical Center San Diego, and Balboa Tennis Club. It’s a real team effort.

Tennis: That’s the key word in all of this. We are a program that delivers free tennis to wounded veterans and active service members of all ages, in our San Diego community and across the country. That may lead you to ask how we can provide tennis outside of our domain.

Our program is two-fold. There’s the annual camp and the weekly clinic.

We run a free annual tennis camp in May for wounded active service members and veterans from across the country. No tennis experience is necessary.  All major expenses are paid thanks to grants and donations from local and national sponsors.

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The 5th Annual Wounded Warrior Camp took place May 15-21, 2016.

We offer free weekly drop-in tennis clinics every Tuesday from 11:00 am – 12:30 at Balboa Tennis Club. Again, no tennis experience is necessary. Under the direction of several fantastic tennis pros and wonderful volunteers, we are fortunate enough to be able to focus on the fundamental skills of tennis. And with our number of participants on the rise, we’re able to arrange doubles matches as well as large group games. If you can’t already tell, we have a lot of fun.

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Group photo from August 9, 2016

During tennis, the players exhibit an “all in” mentality and work hard to make those around them just a little bit better than how they found them. Whether that’s in regard to tennis skills or self-esteem, each interaction is meaningful and positive. Being a part of this community alone is therapeutic, never mind the release the court provides from pressures and priorities in our daily lives.

Our mission is to satisfy physical, emotional and social needs, promote a fit and healthy lifestyle, and enhance quality of life. The program encourages a head-on approach to mental health topics and encourages collaboration and conversation. The players that join our program bring energy and enthusiasm every day and positively impact the lives of the people around them.

Our vision is to create and inspire a global tennis community for wounded warriors and their families. We strive to create a space where they feel comfortable, welcome and safe, resulting in improved quality of life through better health, meaningful relationships, self-confidence, and personal independence.

If you want to learn more about the program, contact us!

You can reach us at our website: http://www.sdwoundedwarriortennis.org/

Or visit us:

Balboa Tennis Club
2221 Morley Field Drive
San Diego, CA 92104
619-295-9278