Presidents Letter November 2019

Kentucky Tennis Family,


Happy Thanksgiving!  I cannot believe that it’s already the holiday season! I hope you are looking forward to this season, celebrating the people, experiences and blessings you’ve enjoyed this year. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day craziness of life that we often forget to reflect and appreciate all that’s good in our lives. I’m a firm believer that there’s always something to be thankful for, whether it’s a roof over my head, food on my table, a hug from a family member, coffee with a friend or snuggles with my crazy dogs!


As I near the end of my term as President of USTA Kentucky, I am especially thankful that I said “yes” to this opportunity to serve you. I was hesitant when I was first asked if I would be interested.  I wondered what I had to offer. Would I be good at it? What could I possibly contribute? This journey has been an “out of my comfort zone” experience for this introvert, but I am so glad that I stepped outside of my box and accepted the offer to serve our amazing board and organization.


It is incredibly important to point out that no leader is successful without amazing people around them.  If I’ve been successful in any way, it’s because of Jason Miller, our Executive Director, and what I believe is the best staff in the nation.  Your USTA Kentucky staff is small but mighty and what they’ve accomplished this year is nothing short of amazing.  I am honored to serve them and humbled by their commitment to excellence in all things.


I also want to thank our USTA Kentucky Board of Directors. These fabulous people, from all corners of our state, travel far and wide for board meetings, schedule time out of their day for board and committee calls and volunteer to help at events throughout the year.  They are fun, thoughtful, passionate and engaged individuals who love tennis and our state. I cannot thank them enough, not only their attendance at board meetings, but for their participation!  Each and every one of them make Kentucky tennis better because they share not only their time but also their thoughts, insights and perspectives when we meet together.  It’s easy to sit on a board but it takes effort to participate, and Kentucky - your board members participate!  I’m proud to know each of them and to serve our great organization alongside them!


I hope tennis is on your list of things to be thankful for this year!  Whether it’s the friends you’ve made, the experiences you’ve had or the better health it’s provided – tennis certainly has been a gift to each of us.  I hope you’ll in turn find a small way to give back to the sport you love this holiday season and throughout the year.  Here are three simple ways that you can give back this holiday season:


1. Volunteer!  There are a million ways to volunteer, including with USTA Kentucky, your local Community Tennis Association, local school teams, tournaments and more! Whatever your interest or skill set, there’s a way you can make a difference in your tennis community!  Not sure where to start? You can complete a VOLUNTEER INTEREST FORM or contact USTA Kentucky or me and we’ll get you connected!


2. Play or support an event that gives back!  There are some great events in our state the benefit various charitable causes, including the Girls on the Run Tennis Tournament, Refuse to Lose (RTL) Tennis Championship, VIPS Tennis Tournament and Pavo Loco Holiday Tennis Tournament, just to name a few!  Did you know that the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championship and the Braidy Industries Women’s Tennis Classic are both non-profit? The first benefits Ronald McDonald Charities as well as other Lexington area organizations and the latter supports the Greater Ashland Tennis Association. Our tennis community gives back in a big way, and you can too, just by playing in or supporting these types of events! Does it get any better than playing tennis and making a difference, all at the same time?!


3. Donate to the Raise a Racquet Foundation!  This organization gives back to individuals and communities all over our state by providing need-based funding to junior players, programs and organizations that are working to provide tennis in underserved communities and much more. Every dollar you give goes directly to providing tennis opportunities to those who need it! RaR is a registered 501(c)3 organization, so all gifts are tax deductible!


I hope you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving later this month and that we’ll all continue to look for ways that we can give back to the sport we love, to those in our community who need a little support and for ways to continue to make our world a better place.


Happy Thanksgiving,


Rainey Johns

USTA Kentucky President