Mission and History

We strengthen our community by educating and empowering youth to realize their full potential.

Core Values

Inclusion

SPUT creates a social and learning environment that is safe, inclusive, and nurturing for kids of all races, religions, sexual orientation, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Character Development

Saint Paul Urban Tennis focuses on social and emotional development to prepare our students to be leaders on and off the tennis court. SPUT S.P.I.R.I.T. (service, perseverance, integrity, responsibility, imagination, and teamwork) is infused into every lesson.

Health & Wellbeing

SPUT builds, sustains, and nourishes the physical and emotional health of each participant. We combine the fun and activity of tennis with practical health information to give kids the tools to be healthy in body and mind.

Pursuit of Excellence

SPUT believes in continuously improving as an organization. We teach each participant to  pursue every challenge – on the tennis court, in the classroom, or in the community – with the highest level of integrity, fervor, and sportsmanship.

Partnerships

Saint Paul Urban Tennis values its partnerships with families, schools, businesses, and nonprofits to best support the development of youth in our program.

History

Saint Paul Urban Tennis (SPUT) is a nonprofit youth development organization created in 1991 as a pilot project through the Northwest Tennis Patrons. Long-time community leader and tennis coach Ernie Greene later increased participation and funding support by merging Saint Paul Urban Tennis with the Martin Luther King Tennis Buffs. It was Ernie who instilled the importance of character and service into our programs.

Thirty years ago, Saint Paul Urban Tennis brought tennis to 125 youth at three sites, focusing on diverse areas of low-income households where few opportunities existed for youth: The Bucky Olson Courts at Saint Paul Central, El Rio Vista, and Dayton's Bluff. SPUT now typically serves 2,700 youth each year in free and low-cost tennis lesson programs, community engagement programs, and Academic Creative Engagement (ACE) Camps for ages 5-18 -- on 30+ St. Paul sites! High school players can join SPUT’s Warrior Leadership Academy and find jobs as youth tennis coaches, interns, and Employment PLUS workers. Employment PLUS youth work in paid jobs at SPUT that include time for college and career exploration, mentoring, and college and workplace visits.

kid-smilling

Saint Paul Urban Tennis is Formed

1991

With support from Northwest Tennis Patrons, SPUT is formed under the leadership of John King, Fred King, Sandy Martin, and dedicated volunteers.

1991

Ernie Greene Joins the Team

1992

Ernie Greene, longtime community leader and tennis coach, merges the Martin Luther King Tennis Buffs with SPUT, bringing an emphasis on character and service.

1992

Ernie Greene Scholarship Fund is Created

1997

The Ernie Greene Scholarship Fund is created to invest in young leaders who graduate high school and are pursuing higher education.

1997

SPUT Programming Breaks Participant Records

2006

Saint Paul Urban Tennis summer programming serves a new record of 3,000 youth, with 75 youth coaches at 27 sites across Saint Paul.

2006

Warrior Leadership Academy is Founded

2012

Warrior Leadership Academy is founded to provide indoor winter training and competition. Leadership and life development workshops are pillars of the program.

2012

SPUT S.P.I.R.I.T. Curriculum

2013

The SPUT S.P.I.R.I.T. (service, perseverance, integrity, responsibility, imagination, teamwork) life skills curriculum is embedded into programming.

2013

New Home on the East side

2017

SPUT moves its headquarters to Eastview Recreation Center on the diverse, east side of Saint Paul.

2017

Employment PLUS is Created

2018

To grow opportunities for emerging leaders on the Eastside, SPUT creates the Employment PLUS program. Employment PLUS hires high school students and pairs them with career mentors, development workshops, and college/workplace visits.

2013

Academic Creative Engagement (A.C.E) Camps

2018

Academic Creative Engagement (ACE) camps are added to tennis programming. Tennis is combined with fun off-court math, science, reading, and creative writing activities.

2018

Eastview Recreation Center Tennis Courts

2020

SPUT builds 5 additional tennis courts at Eastview Recreation Center, allowing more opportunities for SPUT programming to serve youth.

2020

Saint Paul Urban Tennis is a recognized charitable organization under section 501(c)(3). As a non-profit, we are able to raise funds and apply for grant funding to support our mission. Your donation helps us provide high quality youth programming to kids across Saint Paul, regardless of zip code or income.

 

Thank you for your support!