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GACTA Programs

quick-start-tennis-4The Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, incorporated in the State of Florida, that promotes, encourages and fosters the development and growth of the sport of tennis in the Alachua County area.

We promote tennis in Alachua County as a means of healthful recreation and physical fitness, and we provide an opportunity to learn and engage in a wholesome, lifetime sport and recreational activity.

GACTA will work to foster the development of public facilities and events to achieve this purpose and will provide opportunities for healthy social, emotional and educational development of young persons through peer encounters in athletics and through family participation. All board members are volunteers and active tennis players.

Aces in Motion Gainesville FL TennisOur current programs include:

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Past GACTA Programs

SE Boys and Girls Club Tennis (2008)

aim se boys and girls clubIn 2008, GACTA launched a new tennis program at the McPherson Recreation Center (1717 SE 15th Street) for members of the SE Boys & Girls Club. Sessions were held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., from February to end of April. We also expanded the program to the Woodlawn Unit of the Boys & Girls Club (located at 331 SE 20th Place, about one mile west of McPherson), with sessions on their outdoor basketball courts from 3 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the same days. We purchased some junior racquets for this program, and obtained some donated racquets and tennis balls. There were over 30 participants at McPherson, with an additional 20 participants at the Woodland Unit. Our volunteers had a wonderful time with this terrific bunch of kids. A big thank you goes to all our volunteers: John Bennett, Darla Chmiel, Ron Chmiel, Alice Criner, Sandy LeVeen, Marie Mayer, Bobbie Mehan, Bonnie O’Brien, Mike Oransky, Christine Shurtleff, Libby Smith, and Mike Weiss.

Extended Day Tennis Program in Alachua County Elementary Schools (2009-2011)

aim edep-tennis-addison-balls-in-motionThe Extended Day Enrichment Tennis Program was initially funded as a pilot project by GACTA, and was begun in three local elementary schools during the spring of 2009. It was designed to test the theory that if qualified tennis teachers are paid to actually teach the after-school programs, rather than rely on school personnel to do this, the program will be far more successful in introducing young children to tennis. The tennis teacher would be in a better position to recruit the most interested students into additional tennis activities, such as Junior Team Tennis. Three area schools participated in the program during the spring semester, and the students and after school personnel uniformly raved about its value.

A USTA Recreational Tennis grant was awarded to GACTA during the summer of 2009, to expand the EDEP tennis program from three to ten elementary schools during the 2009-2010 school year.

For the 2010-2011 school year, GACTA received a USTA Florida Share the Love grant to continue our EDEP tennis program. Also this year, the Alachua County Choices program signed on as a partner, to encourage children to participate in tennis as a healthy lifestyle choice. The county’s participation has allowed the after school tennis program to expand to almost all the elementary schools in the county, serving around 300 children.

Sadly, CHOICES pulled their funding of the program at the last minute, so this program did not continue through the 2011-2012 school year.

Junior Competitive Tennis Mentoring (2009-2010)

This pilot program received initial funding from GACTA, and was begun June, 2009. The program consisted of a “pay it back” system in which each junior player was assigned a mentee and a mentor. In return for weekly hitting sessions with his/her mentee, the player was entitled to a free session with his/her mentor, usually a college player or coach, who was reimbursed for their time by the program. The mentoring program received excellent reviews from the participants, parents, and coaches. As tennis tends to be an individual sport, we felt there was a need for junior competitive tennis players to be encouraged to become a part of the tennis community as a whole. Encouraging sportsmanship and good court behavior are important in the development of the junior player, and they can benefit greatly from being placed in the position of being responsible and a role model to younger, less-experienced kids. In addition, the mentee can benefit greatly by receiving affordable hitting time with a more experienced player.

GACTA Eastside Gainesville Tennis Programming (2012-Present)

GACTA’s main initiative in 2014 is to continue to grow tennis in east Gainesville, a generally lower socioeconomic area in Gainesville that has a high percentage of at-risk children. In past years, while our junior tennis programs thrived in the more affluent areas of western Alachua County, sporadic attempts to introduce tennis to the children in east Gainesville were not sustainable. In 2011, because of the documented positive impact of tennis in children’s lives, GACTA made development of tennis instruction in after-school and summer tennis programs one of its main priorities. Since then, with funding from the USTA Florida Foundation and with help from our partners, the following accomplishments have been made:

  1. The first middle school tennis club was formed in east Gainesville, in partnership with 21stCentury Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) with tennis instruction and mentoring provided from summer 2012 – present at Howard Bishop Middle School. Tennis instruction has been provided both during the summer enrichment program as well as during the regular after-school program in fall and spring.
  2. Abandoned tennis courts at Howard Bishop Middle School were revitalized. As a result, Howard Bishop is the only public middle school in Gainesville with functional tennis courts on its campus.
  3. The first middle school tennis team (Howard Bishop Middle School) to be composed of players primarily living in east Gainesville competed in the GACTA Alachua County Middle School Tennis league in 2013.
  4. The first USTA Jr. Team Tennis team, composed entirely of disadvantaged middle school players, was formed and is competing in the fall 2013 season.
  5. For the past three summers (2011-present), tennis instruction has been regularly provided at an east Gainesville city park (McPherson Recreation Center) in partnership with the Eastside Advocacy Group for Youth and Mike Oransky Tennis (http://homemagazinegainesville.com/?p=664).

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about past, present or future GACTA programs.