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National Junior Tennis & Learning

The USTA/National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network is a nation-wide network of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell, and Sheridan Snyder, this growing network of tennis providers share similar values, ideals, and goals by:

  • reaching out to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play the sport
  • instilling in youngsters the values of leadership and academic excellence
  • giving all kids (regardless of income, race, gender) the opportunity to fully develop their tennis skills so they can derive a life time of enjoyment from the sport

NJTLs are unique because they offer a variety of on-court programming and also educational and life-skill components designed to enhance a player’s overall development. These educational components are diverse in nature, but can vary from things like mentoring, drug and alcohol counseling, to things like computer skills training, health and nutrition, and college preparation. The NJTL is a great way for kids to get exercise, make friends, and have fun in a team-oriented and safe environment.


Asheville - Laura Loftis  (lloftis@ashevillenc.gov)
Charlotte - Carla O’Connor  (oconnfam@aol.com)
Clinton - John Merritt  (docjcm@aol.com)
Fayetteville - Francie Barragan  (fbarragan@methodist.edu)
Raleigh - Ken Glanville  (Ken.glanville@ci.raleigh.nc.us)
Brunswick Co. - Karen Holbrook  (kholbrook@ec.rr.com)
Rockingham Co. - Shelby Rhyne (RCTennisAssociation@gmail.com)


For information on starting an NJTL chapter, contact Caroline Downs at (336) 852-8577 or caroline@nctennis.com.

Core Program Offerings - National

  • Arthur Ashe Essay Contest (AAEC) - To help commemorate the legacy of humanitarian and tennis great Arthur Ashe, USTA/NJTL sponsors an annual essay contest asking entrants to write in 300 words or less why Arthur Ashe is a legend. Winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York to be guests at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, a daylong festival of kids’ tennis activities that includes interactive games, musical entertainment and free clinics.
  • Tennis Leadership Camp (TLC) – The TLC is a wonderful opportunity for NJTL participants to experience an intense week of training, emphasizing individual skills development, physical fitness, proper nutrition, good sportsmanship and other healthy attitudes.  At the Camp, kids will meet other kids that love tennis, train with experienced pros, participate in a career counseling night, interact with special guest speakers, and visit local area attractions.  Created in 1984 to provide an educational as well as motivational tennis experience for NJTL participants who could not afford such an opportunity, the goal of the Camp is to provide NJTL participants a chance to be part of a life lasting tennis and social experience.
  • NJTL Kids’ Days (formerly Regional Rally) - Established in 1988, Kids’ Days are one of NJTL’s longest running and most successful offerings.  Each year, NJTL provides grants and equipment to selected Chapters/Programs that have the means to host a day or weekend tennis extravaganza for NJTL participants in the local and neighboring areas. USTA/NJTL provides a Kids’ Day Host Kit which helps the host site with planning and tournament details.  Kids’ Days serve as both a reward for active Chapters and Programs, and an incentive for new communities to join the NJTL Network.  Grants and equipment are available to registered USTA NJTL Chapters and Programs.
  • Insurance
    * USTA-offered Liability Insurance — The USTA has a low cost master liability and accident insurance plan available for NJTLs and Community Tennis Associations (CTAs) which provides coverage against allegations of negligence resulting from bodily injury or property damage.  Upon completion of your USTA NJTL and/or CTA Registration, USTA Membership and non-profit status, an insurance provider representative will contact you directly to discuss the enrollment process.
    * USTA-offered Directors and Officers Insurance – The USTA has a low cost insurance plan available for NJTL and CTA Directors and Officers which provides coverage for claims associated with negligent acts, errors or omissions alleged to have been committed by individuals acting in their capacity as a NJTL or CTA Director or Officer.
  • Capacity Building Program – Often, mid-size NJTL chapters/programs seeking to expand their impact and reach into the community need a little guidance.  Before they can provide more programming or take on a greater number of kids, they must first develop additional management capabilities. The Capacity Building Program is designed to provide long-term assistance to selected chapters that are committed to achieving significant qualitative and quantitative growth and to developing management capabilities necessary to achieve their goals. Chapters/Programs are selected at the end of each year through a competitive application process.
  • Recreational Coach Workshops (RCWs) - An interactive, on-court training program designed for tennis teachers and coaches working with players who are new to the game and/or at the earlier levels of skill development. Each 6-hour workshop is conducted by an outstanding certified tennis professional specially trained to effectively handle large groups and get kids and adults to play tennis quickly in a fun and social atmosphere. Each workshop participant receives youth and adult curriculum materials, team practice information and samples of innovative tennis transition balls aimed at accelerating the learning process.

Exclusive Benefits for USTA Southern NJTLs

  1. Regional Tennis Leadership Camp (TLC) – The Regional Tennis Leadership Camp is an extended-weekend tennis camp for 20-25 kids, aged 12-14, who show promise in tennis and are nominated by their NJTL Tennis Coach or Program Director. In addition to on-court practice, campers will participate in local cultural activities and educational/career training sessions to help prepare them for their futures.  All participants must be involved in a registered USTA Southern National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Chapter or Program.
  2. Summer Camp Scholarships – scholarships to help offset the costs of participation in any summer tennis camp that is located in the Southern section and that offers a non-tennis educational component for at least one hour each day.
  3. NJTL Kids’ Day Grants (formerly Regional Rally) – Established in 1988, the Kids' Days are one of NJTL’s longest running and most successful offerings.  Funds are available to Chapters/Programs that are interested in hosting a day or weekend tennis event extravaganza for NJTL participants in the local and neighboring areas. Kids' Days serve as both a reward for active Chapters and Programs, and an incentive for new communities to join the NJTL Network.
  4. NJTL Program Grants - Funding to start or develop National Junior Tennis & Learning Program and Chapters

First Serve

The USTA/NJTL acquired all rights to the First Serve Life Skills Curriculum and the National Student Athlete Competition in January, 2010. The acquisition presents NJTL chapters with the exclusive ability to deliver a professionally researched and developed off-court life skills curriculum to complement a chapter’s already-existing on-court programming. The National Student Athlete Competition gives NJTL students the ability to compete for college scholarships based on grades in four subject areas and USTA sanctioned tennis activity. Scholarships are divided equally between four age/gender categories and are awarded to twelve total students each year.