March 30, 2022 Newsletter

The Countdown to Summer Begins!

Saint Paul Urban Tennis offers programming for kids ages 5-18 all summer long! Whether your child is looking to try something new, or wants to compete at a high level, there is something at SPUT for all abilities. Beginners and intermediate players learn and grow their game in one-hour lesson programs, Monday – Thursday, June 20 – July 28. Summer ACE Camps are offered the first three weeks of August, 8:30am to 12:30pm, some of which will combine tennis with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities for ages 8-12. Junior Team Tennis competition is available for kids ages 12+. Tryouts may be required. Spots are filling up fast, so register today!

SPUT Community Engagement in Action

Community engagement is an important part of SPUT’s tennis programming. Earlier this year, kids ages 6-10 at Northwest Como Recreation Center learned tennis basics with SPUT coaches Vilai Vang and Ethan Thao. “The kids had a lot of energy and Ethan and I had such a great time teaching them about tennis,” said Vang. “We look forward to working with kids in our next outreach program soon!”

SPUT Talks: Financial Literacy Workshops for SPUT’s High School Youth Leaders

On Monday, March 21, 30 SPUT high school youth learned about making smart financial decisions with their money from Bryan Polley, wealth adviser at U.S. Bank. The presentation was part of a series of presentations called “SPUT Talks,” to include budgeting, investing, networking, and learning from SPUT alums how to prepare for life after high school.

Warrior Leadership Academy Year Ends with Fun Budgeting Event–and Tennis!

The 2021-22 Warrior Leadership Academy year came to a close Saturday, March 26 with a fun, interactive budgeting workshop led by staff at HiWay Federal Credit Union. Close to 50 SPUT high school youth used an app on their phone (created by HiWay) to take on a persona and manage several types of essential and non-essential expenses. Their goal? To create a balanced budget and possibly have money left over to make a credit card payment or add to a savings account. Youth learned how to consider many factors in making wise spending decisions, and how a credit score affects the ability to make major purchases.

Warrior youth also enjoyed a final Saturday of tennis practice drills and competitive play together at White Bear Life Time Fitness. SPUT Warrior Romeo Sheen now feels prepared for the boy’s high school tennis season: “The atmosphere on court was warm and welcoming, and kept tennis fun for me all winter long!” A big “thank you” to all of the youth, coaches and workshop volunteers who made Warrior Leadership Academy such a success this year!

Saying Farewell to Brandon Kuether

Last Saturday’s Warrior Leadership Academy event marked Brandon Kuether’s last day at Saint Paul Urban Tennis. Brandon’s role began as a head coach in 2014, the same year he was named SPUT Rookie Coach of the Year. Since becoming Tennis Program Manager in 2018, Brandon has taught, coached, and mentored hundreds of SPUT kids. Brandon has been the heart and spirit of SPUT programming, helping SPUT to evolve in many ways. He has improved SPUT training programs for coaches and players, strengthened SPUT’s competition programs, and been an advocate at the local and national levels for better structures for diversity, equity, and inclusion in tennis and youth programming. We wish Brandon well in his new job as Assistant Athletic Director at Como High School, and we’re delighted he will still be working with SPUT’s tennis programming this summer. Thank you, Brandon, for all you have done for SPUT; your contributions are immeasurable.

Welcome Vilai Vang: New Manager for Eastview Recreation Center (SPUT’s Headquarters)

Things are heating up at the Eastview Recreation Center! Open gym has been busy throughout the winter months. Now the tennis nets are up, we are excited to invite people to enjoy our outdoor spaces. SPUT is pleased to announce that Vilai Vang has joined our staff as Eastview Manager. Vilai is the SPUT contact for community engagement opportunities and Eastview Rec Center facility rentals. Welcome Vilai!

Warm up Your Golf Swing: SPUT’s Golf Classic is June 6

Save the date for SPUT’s popular Golf Classic fundraiser, to be held Monday, June 6, at Keller Golf Course in Maplewood. Start gathering your foursome of friends, neighbors, or colleagues to enjoy 18-holes, a scrumptious, post-round barbecue dinner, and a Silent Auction. All funds raised help SPUT offer free or low-cost programming and employ close to a 100 youth each year. Snow and rain will give way to lush fairways and fast putting greens soon!

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