The mission of the Montana Youth Tennis Foundation is to provide opportunities for children of all backgrounds and abilities to learn, play, enjoy and excel at the sport of tennis. The Foundation achieves this by raising funds for a wide variety of development programs, many of which are administered by USTA Montana.
The Foundation places emphasis on programs and activities that provide youth with a positive, fun and disciplined environment to learn the game of tennis – and create alternatives to negative recreation. It also assists young players who have demonstrated talent, and are in need of financial support to compete at higher levels.
The mission is carried out in 3 ways: Tennis is Elementary, Play Days, and Kids Clubs. Tennis is Elementary is an after-school program run by USTA Montana in local communities throughout Montana. Play Days are tennis get-togethers for children focusing on learning to compete in a fun, friendly environment. Kids’ Tennis Clubs are designed to give children in elementary and middle schools the opportunity to try tennis in a safe, supportive, extracurricular setting.
In the last year alone, over 2000 kids in Montana were able to learn how to play tennis for the first time. Many of these were low-income youth at Title 1 Schools in Missoula, Butte, Helena, Bozeman, Livingston, and Billings. The Foundation also provided free, after-school programs for children living on Montana’s Indian Reservations. The Foundation has partnered with organizations such as the Flagship Program, The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe’s summer camp program, Helena School District’s SACC Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Boys and Girls club to provide free tennis clinics. When the Tennis is Elementary program is offered at a school, scholarships are always available for students on the free/reduced meal program.
Using tennis as the vehicle, youth are not only learning a lifetime sport but also about leadership, discipline, sportsmanship, healthy living and positive self-esteem – skills that not only help them on the court but throughout their lives.