When David Kurvink began the Kids Play Tennis Community Outreach program in 2014, the non-profit didn’t have a home facility or a park to base its programming.
Kurvink didn’t seem to care then, and he certainly doesn’t care now.
“We use any tennis court we can find in the Lehigh Valley to run our programs and classes and be involved with kids,” Kurvink said. “If it’s there, we’ll find it and make use of it. No home court doesn’t mean ‘no home.’”
In just a couple of years since its inception, Kids Play Tennis (KPT) has used that mindset to make an imprint on tennis in the Eastern Pennsylvania District (EPD) and is leaving its mark in towns all over the area. A Middle States Premier Provider in 2016, KTP focuses on providing low-cost tennis opportunities for anyone with an interest in the game.
Recently, the organization was named as the recipient of the 2016 Middle States Community Tennis Association Award.
“A concern of mine has always been cost,” said Kurvink, KPT’s Tennis Director. “We shoot to keep the cost down and keep the game accessible for kids at a young age.”
To do that, KPT partners with other non-profits and community groups around the Lehigh Valley, including tennis groups, schools and even day cares. The organization also works with charities like the Coco Foundation, which fights pancreatic cancer in kids.
When a child or a group has an interest in tennis, Kurvink and KPT doesn’t send them to one location. Instead, they work to match that individual or group with a tennis spot and opportunity that works best — and is the closest — for the interested party.
“We go into a lot of places and run tennis where they don’t even have tennis courts,” Kurvink said. “After school programs, day cares and others. The day cares have been a really neat niche for us. It allows us to get the kids started with tennis at a really low cost, and it’s great for the parents, because it’s one less drop-off and pick-up.”
But as much as KPT focuses on fun, low-cost play for kids of all ages, that doesn’t mean things can’t get competitive. Last week, a team representing the organization participated in Middle States Junior Team Tennis (JTT) Section Championships. KTP participant Palmer Townsend won the Sportsmanship Award for the 12s Green Ball category.
“We have JTT year-round,” said Kurvink, who coached the team during the event. “It’s really given kids a visual pathway. If kids participate and go through the classes, they can play in JTT matches and get that extra team experience.”
Building KPT up to such a high level hasn’t been easy. It required countless hours of work from Kurvink, and also a major commitment from his mother, Karen. She’s been a major tennis advocate in the EPD tennis community for years, and helped fuel the growth of KTP by bringing her friends around to volunteer, organize and help out in any way needed.
“She’s really the reason this was possible,” Kurvink said.
Additional information on Kids Play Tennis can be found by visiting the organization online.