Now that June is upon us, the epi-center of Blue Ridge for many of us becomes the pool and tennis programs and activities. So, in this month’s column I am going to address some things in this area.
While the pool with swim lessons, swim team and weekend poolside lounging often takes the primary focus of the summer season, our tennis programs have been growing too. This growth can be attributed to the strategic shift in how we operate tennis initiated by our former Pool and Tennis Chair, Jenny Fredericks, and from the dedicated volunteer efforts of neighbors such as Jamie Smith.
Three years ago, after getting feedback from the community on how to improve the Blue Ridge tennis programs, we sought to develop a program that would accomplish the following:
- Elevate the caliber of instruction for kids and adults
- Create the opportunity to have a more cohesive tennis team for our kids
- Offer a variety of programs to increase the number of people playing tennis
The conclusion was made that the best way to accomplish the goals above was to contract with a more professional organization. So we entered in to an arrangement with Tennis Center Sandpoint (TCSP). In the last two years, these initial goals have been met. More people than ever are playing tennis and our kids are enjoying a more robust level of play. We have heard testimonials from many that say that TCSP has inspired a new or latent interest in tennis.
There have been a few issues with outsourcing aspects of the tennis program that we are attempting to solve this year. First, administration became more cumbersome and costly to reconcile sign-ups and payments. And second, we heard very strongly expressed concerns with the lack of availability of courts and the perception that court time was being used too frequently by non-members taking private lessons with TCSP instructors.
To reduce administrative hassle and costs, we have migrated operations over to their systems while still maintaining control over pricing, program offerings and usage of our courts. With guarantees to maintain court availability for Blue Ridge members, there should be more limits on private lessons given to outsiders. With their system, members now have the ability to reserve courts which should help with court availability and allow us to review usage.
You may have noticed that we have invested in tennis in other ways too. The courts have been resurfaced and the sheds and surrounding equipment spiffed up (Thank you Lloyd Low). We are making every effort to ensure that Blue Ridge member tennis players have access to our courts when they want it. But with increased demand, there will be more conflicts. And with this system migration, there will also be hiccups, so please be patient. We are really trying to meet a variety of needs with our tennis programs.
So it seems that there is a growing interest in Pickle Ball and we’ve heard from many members that they want Blue Ridge to have it. Apparently this is a trend. Many clubs and parks are lining tennis courts or other areas with pickle-ball boundaries. Who knew? Well I guess a lot of people other than me.
We will investigate our options. Initially there was the thought that we could introduce the pickle ball lines when we resurfaced the tennis courts but that felt premature without understanding the full implications. Another idea is to use the basketball court down at Woodbine. There are issues with that too.
Here’s to enjoying summer in Blue Ridge. Hope to see you around and about!