Earlene Riley always knew tennis would be a major part of her life. She never thought it would be quite like this.
A tennis player and fan for more than 30 years, Riley is currently a highly-dedicated Middle States board member. Her involvement includes assisting on multiple committees and serving in a leadership role, but most importantly, it allows her to fuel the growth of tennis across the Section.
“It’s nice to have a hand in expanding the sport,” she said. “Tennis gave so much to me, and I know what playing it and being involved with it can mean to others. Sharing that has been a lot of fun.”
USTA Middle States is hoping more people will now follow that trend of volunteering, and is accepting applications for the 2015-16 Board of Directors and Nominating Committee until April 15.
“It’s a great time to figuratively stand up and say, ‘I’d like to get involved,’” said David Goodman, a long-time volunteer who currently serves on the nominating committee. “Even if you don’t feel you’re qualified to serve on the board or the nominating committee, volunteering is a great way for section and district leaders to identify people who can help the organization.”
People tend to talk about getting involved, but many don’t realize where to begin. The truth is, it’s easier than most realize.
Involvement as a volunteer for USTA Middle States could mean anything. Many begin by helping at a district tournament, while others apply directly for a leadership role on the Section’s Board of Directors, helping to build the Section’s strategy and grow tennis throughout the Middle States area.
For those who formally apply, the nominating process takes place every two years and follows the procedures outlined in the USTA Middle States bylaws, concluding with the nominating committee selecting new applicants to serve on the following term’s nominating committee and board of directors.
Goodman said that volunteers at the community and district level are as integral to the success of Middle States as anyone else, and like the development of a tennis player, volunteers can follow a path to bigger and more pertinent roles.
That’s the same road Riley took to her current position on the board.
“The experience has been very enlightening and valuable,” she said. “I enjoy the people I work with and the things I like to do. Getting involved feels good. It’s nice to give back to something that’s helped me so much personally.”
Riley credits Middle States Tennis Service Representative Kitty Perrin with helping her through the volunteer process and inspiring her to do more. She said she’s looking forward to the rest of this year, and is excited to see what the next step is in developing and growing tennis all over.
“When you love the game, you want to see it succeed,” she said.
USTA Middle States is currently accepting applications for the 2015-16 Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. The process for volunteering with USTA Middle States is open and inclusive — anyone with an interest can apply. Even if an applicant isn’t granted an interview for the board, they will be referred to the Leadership Development Committee, which can eventually lead to a leadership role down the road. And no matter what the volunteer position, each volunteer helps grow and develop the growth of tennis in Middle States.