By Karen Ronney
Mountain View Sports and Racquet Club’s mission came to fruition this year as it succeeded in its quest to “Light Up a Life” at their seven-court facility. In reality, this southeast San Diego club has lit up many lives through the sport of tennis. This year, Mountain View received a grant from the SCTA Foundation toward a three-court lighting project, which is scheduled for completion in January.
“Supporting Mountain View is an honor,” said Linda Milan, Executive Director of the Southern California Tennis Association Foundation. “With new LED lights, players will have more court time and the chance to improve their games. Even better, we can give juniors the training they need.”
The Light Up a Life campaign was divided into two phases over a five year period. The first phase involved changing the existing lighting on the back four courts to state-of-the-art LED fixtures, which offers the highest quality available for night play. The club raised $30,000 through events, donations and community support and it was completed in May. The second phase targets the front three courts that currently do not have lights. This venture is more than triple the cost because it requires fixtures, preparation and installation. Frances Simpson-Lang, the president of the Board of Directors at Mountain View, led the Light Up A Life charge with club fundraisers, events and a direct outreach to local businesses. There were tournaments, mixers and socials to support the cause. Donations came in from $50 to $1000 and more. The numbers kept adding up and 100% of donations went into the project.
“Frances is a very determined and visionary leader,” said David Gill, President of the Greater San Diego City Tennis Council. “She is passionate about teaching community youth life skills, resilience and good sportsmanship through the sport of tennis.”
There has been a steady growth of membership and tennis participation at Mountain View before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. The club currently offers 23 USTA Adult Leagues, six USTA tournaments, four socials and USTA Junior Team Tennis each year. They also have a National Junior Tennis and Learning program, and they host Family Tennis Days.However, while adult membership has increased junior tennis participation has lagged. A big challenge was lighting. Although the club has seven courts in the daytime, the numbers go down to four after dark. This limits court time for kids and it was a problem Lang was determined to fix.
“Adults would kick kids off the courts around 5pm because there were no lights,” she said. “Now our juniors can play into the evening while still leaving time for adults.” Other changes at MVSRC included giving all juniors free memberships with priority from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. The class schedule includes NJTL classes, and 10-and-Under Tennis to high performance training, the latter with USPTA Pro Marlon Arbaca. The club reserves Monday and Wednesday evenings specifically for juniors up to 7pm. Additionally, Morse High School players can train and compete on the courts year round.“This was an uphill battle but we were able to make it happen,” Lang said. “We want to teach life skills, respect and patience through tennis,” Lang said. “In a short time, our junior program has grown from about 10 to over 40 players. We are fulfilling our mission. Thanks to the SCTA Foundation, their grant was instrumental in helping us move forward.”
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TENNIS ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION
Our mission of “Changing Lives and Communities through Tennis,” serves as a pathway to offer financial support to individuals and organizations. We are a 501©3 nonprofit organization and the charitable arm of USTA Southern California. We help people of all ages and abilities to improve their health, fitness and quality of life through the sport of tennis. Founded in 1986, the SCTA Foundation has had a community impact of giving more than $500,000 this year through grants, scholarships, program support, equipment and more to recipients throughout Southern California. To learn more about the SCTA Foundation, please visit sctafoundation.org. To donate CLICK HERE