Do you love tennis? Are you one of those people who enjoy giving back to your community? If so, the Building Tennis Communities (BTC) Strategy is looking for people just like you to become our Community Champions.

What is Building Tennis Communities (BTC)?

Tennis Canada and the Provincial Tennis Associations created the BTC Strategy in 2000 and have since been testing this approach to growing the game. Over 120 communities across the country are involved. The Community Champions in those towns and cities have done an amazing job of promoting tennis through the development of partnerships with community leaders.

The goal of the BTC Strategy is to bring more people into the game of tennis and to keep them playing for life — facilitating growth and sustainability. The approach is based on the philosophy that tennis has a role to play in community development and thus, if seen by community leaders as a valuable asset to the community, will be supported accordingly.

Tennis Canada provides funding assistance for the Community Champion(s) for a three year period and, after that, we work together to find the resources to make sure that tennis continues to contribute to the health of your community.

If you are interested in becoming a Community Champion, please feel free to contact your Provincial Tennis Association or e-mail Julie Gravel Manager, Community Development if you have any questions or comments on Building Tennis Communities.

What is the BTC Model?

The model being used to guide the implementation of this Strategy is grounded in three key components:Community Champions, Community Partners and the Tennis Pathway.

1. Community Champions

A ‘Community Champion’ is a person or group who are passionate about tennis and well connected to other community leaders (e.g. youth group leaders, town/city counselors, health professionals, police, local businesspeople etc.) in his/her city or town. Community Champions might be retired persons, teachers, entrepreneurs or tennis coaches or volunteers…anyone with the time, interest and a general understanding of community needs. It is essential that the Champion live in the community.

The role of this individual is to ensure that strong partnerships with community leaders are established such that those community leaders clearly understand the role that tennis can play in contributing to the reduction or elimination of some community problems (e.g. overweight kids, delinquency, etc.) and to increasing community spirit (via community-based events, etc.).

2. Community Partners

‘Community Partners’ are community leaders that have been identified by the Community Champion as people who are important to maintaining the health of tennis in the community. Community Champions are encouraged to establish partnerships with education, tennis and parks and recreation leaders as a starting point and are encouraged to consider partnerships with others in the community such as: local businesses, media, politicians, doctors, police, etc. It is suggested that the Community Champion, with the assistance of his/her Provincial Association contact, host a ‘community tennis rally’ where community leaders are brought together to discuss the benefits that tennis brings to the community and to agree on an action plan that meets community needs.

3. Tennis Pathway

The ‘Tennis Pathway’ consists of four components on a continuum: Try, Learn, Play and Compete. Each of these components can be put into action through various programs and activities depending upon community needs. For example, a Try activity might be a tennis demonstration area as part of a larger community event where children and adults can come and try the game in a fun environment. A Learn activity might be a series of lessons interspersed with opportunities to play the game. Moving participants from one level of programming to the next along the continuum is important to ensuring that participants stay involved.

BTC Testimonials

“The BTC Strategy has connected me with many other tennis enthusiasts across Canada who want to see the sport grow around them. With the help of my fellow Community Champions and Tennis Canada, my community became a highly visible tennis centre within one year”.

David Rossolatos – Edmonton, AB Community Champion

It has been an amazing privilege to be a Community Champion in Tennis Canada’s Building Tennis Community Program. The program has allowed us to work with inner city Kids, new adults, schools, meet new partners in our community, and bring new immigrants together to volunteer. The most important aspect of the program is that it has allowed me to be involved in something much bigger than myself. There isn’t any other program that can have such an impact in a community, change lives along the way, and allow us the opportunity to make a difference where we live every day”.

Danielle Smith – Ottawa, ON Community Champion

“Tennis has been my passion since my early teens, and I have worked with children for years trying to make a connection to promote this great game. Since I have been involved with the BTC program, things have really started to blossom. Our Town Recreation Department has refurbished our courts, we are now incorporated and managing those courts and we have Junior Development Program and Adult Programs in place. Thanks Tennis Canada and TNB!”

Ted Robertson – Sussex, NB Community Champion

“I have met many friends through my BTC and had the honour of introducing tennis to children in the rehabilitation and mental health programs at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Kids tennis has given those children a chance to be active, have fun and build their self-esteem as they discover they can serve, rally and score – actually play tennis.”

Chris Simnett – Airdrie, AB Community Champion

“The BTC Strategy has allowed us to affect positive change in members of our community both young and old. Through the introduction of mini tennis programming in elementary schools, we have given children an avenue through which to have fun and be active during the school day. Through the mini tennis program we have introduced to senior citizens, we have given them the chance to “feel young again”, which they have appreciated immensely”.

Jim Lahey – Arto, Quebec Community Champion