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Off-Court Talk: Community

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Off-Court Talk: Community

kctl_ribboncutting.jpg

Over the weekend at Marcy, our off-court discussion borrowed the central theme from the day’s earlier ribbon cutting ceremony: community.

The ceremony unveiled our newly restored, beautifully painted blue tennis court—but our celebration didn’t stop there. Together with students, parents and volunteers from all four KCTL sites, along with local leadership figures, we also celebrated something more meaningful than a tennis court--our community. Speakers at the ceremony praised KCTL’s impact on the community, and expressed confidence that the new court will intensify this positive influence.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovated Marcy tennis court.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and 36th District Council Member Robert Cornegy applauded our program’s creation of a new community. KCTL is a fusion of children, parents and adult volunteers in safe and fun learning environments, they said.

KCTL president and founder, Michael McCasland emphasized that the new facility welcomes an entire community. Although it’s located at the Marcy Playground, closest to the Marcy Houses, the renovated space is open to all KCTL students, including those who reside in Tompkins, Sumner and Lafayette Gardens.

Brandon, a 15-year-old KCTL student who has been with the program since it began in 2010, enthusiastically told the audience that KCTL has created a new community for him, a “second family.”

After the ceremony, we talked about community in our off-court discussion to round everything out. Appropriately, some of our neighbors in the community sat alongside us, since we’d invited students and volunteers from Tompkins to join our site for the day.

In our conversation, we explained that communities are best defined by where you live. We pointed out how earlier that day, we had united four communities to join as one. With this understanding, the kids told us about the importance of taking care of your community and its resources. If someone’s damaging community property—say, with graffiti or breaking glass—you should ask them to stop or alert someone who can help.

The students learned that any community is strongest when its members interact in cooperation in pursuit of common good—just like the community we’d come together to celebrate earlier in the day.

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Press Release: KCTL Re-Opens Marcy Playground Tennis Courts After Completing Full Renovation

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Press Release: KCTL Re-Opens Marcy Playground Tennis Courts After Completing Full Renovation

kctl_ribboncutting.jpg

Councilmember Robert Cornegy and Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey help cut ribbon to new court to kick off 2014 tennis program

BROOKLYN, June 21, 2014 – The Kings County Tennis League (KCTL), a non-profit mentorship program that builds community through tennis, today unveiled the newly renovated tennis court at Marcy Playground, next to the Marcy Houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. KCTL set out last fall to repair the cracked and aging court, where the mentorship program began in 2010.

“We bring tennis to the children, and that includes proper courts in a good playing condition,” said Michael McCasland, president and founder, KCTL. “We launched our program at Marcy Playground, so this was highly personal. This was about giving our youth members and mentor volunteers the best tennis experience, including a great court. In fact, our 2014 season is off with a heightened sense of enthusiasm.”

KCTL began fundraising in October to cover the costs of the renovation. This included beautification with new plants and shrubs around the tennis court.

“The Kings County Tennis League has become a notable part of our community, engaging our youth and matching them with mentors through tennis. Renovating the Marcy Playground tennis court shows this organization's deep commitment to Bed-Stuy. I join the community in expressing gratitude and excitement for this excellent example of civic commitment,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., who helped cut the ribbon to open the new court.

“As an agency charged with maintaining over 4500 acres of recreational parkland in the borough of Brooklyn alone, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is extremely grateful for the work that the Kings County Tennis League has put into this renovation,” said Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey. “We take great pride in being able to provide our residents with the best recreational opportunities available.”

About KCTL
With the mission of bringing tennis to the kids of Brooklyn, KCTL offers free, two-hour tennis lessons with mentors on Saturdays from May through October for children, ages 5-15, who live in low-income, housing projects. Formed in 2010 as the Marcy Tennis Club, we’ve since expanded to four different housing locations (Marcy, Tompkins, Lafayette Gardens and Sumner Houses) and now serve more than 120 youth athletes. KCTL, and our roster of over 50 dedicated volunteers, firmly believe that tennis is an effective means to provide mentorship and build community.

For more information, contact:
Michael McCasland, KCTL Founder and President
michael@kingscountytennisleague.org
(202) 359-9534

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