The NCTA Junior Development Fund (JDF)
The NCTA would like to share some great news for competitive junior players in the Ottawa area, as well as all their coaches and parents. For those of you, who are not yet familiar with the Junior Development Fund (JDF), it was initially created through the efforts of the Rideau Tennis Club (RTC) member advisory committee and the RA Centre to support competitive juniors in the Ottawa area. For years, the annual Pro-Am and Fundraiser at the Rideau Tennis Club was linked to the Roman Cup and designed to match the annual donation made by Michael Cowpland to the OTA, as a scholarship to support the winners and runners-up. The Pro-Am main goal was to raise funds for juniors, through driving participation to the event, as well as through donations and sponsorships from local businesses. Through the support of the broader tennis community, it soon became a high profile annual event in Ottawa area. Similarly, the Roman Cup grew to a four star National Selection tournament with over 425 players being biggest in Canada in 2018.
After the RTC was sold and changed ownership, the remaining JDF funds ($18,500) were transferred from the RA Centre to the NCTA and a JDF committee, consisting of John Wins-Purdy, Zhenya Kondratovski, Tony Roth, Mark Armstrong and Marinus Wins, was created to come up with a proposal to advise the NCTA about the allocation of those funds. In the Fall of 2018, the NCTA approved the committees proposal for funds to be allocated in year 1.
A total of $5,000 will be allocated in the first year under the following schedule:
- $500 for the UTR Regrouping at the OAC in January
- $2,000 for the Winter Nationals players (U12-U18)
- $500 for the NEW Spring/Summer UTR Regrouping, location TBD
- $2,000 for the Summer Nationals Players (U12-U18)
Any player that qualifies and participates in Nationals will be eligible to receive an equal amount of funds to be used towards their travel, coaching, equipment, etc. For example, if there are four players that qualify, and who train regularly in the Ottawa region, the $2,000 will be divided evenly between them ($500 each). We felt that, for the first year, it was important to keep the criteria very simple and to try to help and benefit players and their families, who on that road to Nationals have invested a lot of time and money, as well as sacrificed a lot for their childâ€™s development. Qualifying for a spot at the Canadian Junior Nationals as a player is certainly a great accomplishment and achievement that needs to be recognized and celebrated.Â
The NCTA strongly supports collaboration and team building between clubs, academies, coaches, players and parents which is why $1,000 will go towards the UTR re-groupings, where players of different ages come together to train and benefit from the expertise of our top coaches, including fitness and mental conditioning. The first Ottawa regional regrouping in December of 2017 at the OAC was a huge success and regroupings are a proven training component at the provincial and national levels. We hope that these types of events grow locally in the future and we are proud to support the growth of a model which we believe will benefit players, coaches and parents alike, by pooling our talent and resources together.
Currently, we have been looking at different fundraising models to ensure the sustainability of the JDF and have enlisted the pro bono help of a professional fundraiser (also an avid tennis player) to help us craft a strategy to ensure continuity and growth. This JDF initiative took years to materialize and now we can collectively help our players succeed provincially and nationally. Any help or support from parents, coaches, business owners, or essentially anyone who can contribute their time, ideas and energy, would be greatly appreciated. We are open to a conversation and input from you, because we are in the early stages of this effort and the more feedback and guidance we receive, the stronger and more successful this fund will be.
As a JDF committee (and also coaches ourselves) we feel that if we are able to succeed in making the fund sustainable and creating more of a community involvement and getting necessary traction, we will be able to broaden the criteria, address where the funds can be expanded and partner with clubs, businesses including sports retail, to address the challenges players and families face for court time, equipment and costs, associated with player development in our region. This is just a first step in the process of getting Ottawa players the help they need and we are counting on your support with it.
The NCTA is proud to support our junior competitive athletes and hopes to grow this fund to fuel the development of our outstanding talent and support the hard working families, coaches and players who are on this journey and passionate about the game of tennis. We realize that, increasing the contribution that Ottawa makes to creating Canadaâ€™s future tennis champions will require a much higher level of cooperation between the clubs and the entire tennis community in Ottawa.
The JDF initiative will be an important part in achieving this objective and will impact many of our existing players and those who are just embarking on a competitive tennis pathway. Please feel free to contact any JDF committee member to provide feedback, comments, input or if you have any questions. Look forward to hearing from you.
OTA Regional Coordinator for Ottawa, Coach
Capital Kids Regional Coordinator
Tennis Director, Ottawa Athletic Club