Kings County Tennis League is proud to introduce its first Director of Programming, Meredith Brown. Previously Site Leader at Lafayette Gardens, Meredith has just been appointed to this newly created position, which oversees tennis at all sites.
Meredith grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA, where she learned to play tennis from her father at a very early age. While a student at Mount Lebanon High School, Meredith earned a spot on the Varsity Girls’ Tennis Team as a freshman and participated in USTA tournaments on the weekends.
After high school, Meredith was recruited to play Women’s Tennis at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio—a team that made it to the National Championships twice during her four-year tenure. She played both doubles and singles, and her fondest memories are of the bond she felt with her teammates as Captain: “We did everything as a team. We had a designated spot in the library to study and spent most weekends on the road traveling to matches."
Meredith is a USPTA-certified coach has a Master’s Degree from Pratt University in Library Science and Information Services with a specialization in Children's Literacy. She lives in Bushwick with two roommates and a dog.
We sat down with Meredith for a brief Q&A to learn about her new role at KCTL:
Congratulations on becoming our first Director of Programming! Can you explain your primary responsibilities in this position?
I will design the class curriculum each year, and then recruit volunteers and staff to execute this curriculum. Look for me during classes; I will be traveling from site to site on my bike to make sure everything runs smoothly.
How and why did you get involved in KCTL?
When I moved to New York, I was surprised to learn that adults and children need to pay for a permit to play tennis. So, when I discovered KCTL on social media and Indeed.com, I knew I had to be part of a program that uses free space to teach tennis. It’s especially exciting that the kids can practice any time they’d like at the newly renovated Marcy court, where no permit is necessary.
What was your biggest accomplishment as Lafayette Gardens Site Leader in 2014?
I worked with our Site Coordinator, Candice, and our amazing volunteers to help the kids understand that they were part of a team. We saw many kids’ attitudes transform from apathetic to excited about tennis. And really what more can you ask for but enthusiasm and a fun atmosphere? I also succeeded in implementing games and drills applicable to our youngest students (ages five and six).
What would you like to accomplish this season as Director of Programming?
I have four major objectives: 1. Make sure students of every age group feel comfortable; 2. Include more games in our classes because they help kids improve at the sport without realizing it; 3. Reinforce the importance of off-court talks through weekly themes that connect these discussions with our tennis lessons; and 4. Encourage stronger parent involvement with a few successful family days.
One of your biggest responsibilities is recruiting and managing volunteers. What are the most important personality traits for KCTL volunteers?
Volunteers need to be friendly and confident. Kids appreciate adults who are truthful and act like themselves, but can easily spot when one acts fake or tries too hard. I especially like volunteers who come consistently and are willing to contribute no matter the task at hand. Volunteers do not need to know much about tennis, but should have some experience talking to kids.
You'll also manage our Site Leaders and Site Coordinators. What are your expectations for them?
Site Managers direct the tennis curriculum execution, student/volunteer punctuality and class equipment. No matter the turnout of students and volunteers, they keep the energy upbeat and positive. Site Coordinators take on more of an organizational role with attendance, nametags and note taking during class. They also run off-court discussions in which topics cover everything from government to geography to nutrition.
What are you most excited about for the 2015 season?
To be interacting with kids at all the sites!
What do you see as the biggest challenges for the upcoming season?
It will be difficult to fit all of my plans into a condensed season. We are starting May 30th and ending September 26—making this season four weeks shorter than the last. I want to get to every tennis stroke and offer the kids time for serious match play.
What is your long-term vision for KCTL's Programming?
I’d like to see higher attendance for the volunteers and the students. And, eventually, I’d like to divide each site according to skill level and age group to more effectively mentor our students.