Susan Allshouse thrives on making a difference in children through the game she loves.
The 60-year-old Boynton Beach resident is first on the scene when it comes to schools or youth tennis workshops, but her off-court involvement has especially helped the USTA Florida Section move forward in regard to the Youth Tennis format of play.
“While the USTA has issued a call to action to win the hearts and minds of 6- to 10-year-olds as part of an urgent imperative, this has been the thread throughout my volunteerism with USTA Florida,” said Allshouse, a volunteer for more than 10 years. “I bring to my position as chair of the 10-and-Under Tennis Committee a true love of the sport and belief that it can play an important role in the life of any child and their lifelong development.”
USTA Florida congratulated Susan Allshouse as the May 2014 Volunteer of the Month for her work with school tennis and beyond.
As a USTA Florida Schools specialist, she helps facilitate programs and initiatives such as school workshops and Kids’ Tennis Clubs. As a member of the national USTA Schools Committee, she is the project team leader for the national schools e-newsletter, and shares best practices with other USTA sections.
“I immediately ‘got on the bus’ with my first experience volunteering for the Region 6 (Palm Beaches-area) schools programs and seeing the difference we could make. After that, it’s been, ‘What can I do to help?’”
Her current work, which focuses on fun and match experience without the pressure of rankings, includes membership in the national USTA Player Development Workshop Faculty, providing training to volunteers, parents, PE teachers, coaches and more to introduce tennis in an affordable and fun way; as a ROGY (Red, Orange, Green, Yellow ball progression) “Tourn-event” director and a tennis festival and play day organizer, providing play opportunities for children; and as a teaching pro and volunteer for the East Coast Tennis Foundation, a USTA Community Tennis Association and member of the USTA NJTL (National Junior Tennis & Learning) Network.
“Once we hook the kids, we must give them the chance to play or we will lose them,” she said.
Born in Pittsburgh, Allshouse first learned tennis at the age of 18 by playing with her dad, and progressed quickly to competition, discovering that there is a right and wrong time to first beat her coach and thereafter her teaching pro employers. She later played at Chatham College in Pittsburgh and became a certified teaching pro at 20.
Her best tennis memory was in 2005 as a court leader for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the U.S. Open with 30,000 kids on court. If she could play tennis with three people, they would be Evonne Goolagong, Billie Jean King and Kenny Rosewall. Her favorite tennis shot? Backhand passing shot down the line.
But first and foremost, Allshouse cherishes her volunteer work in tennis because, “it creates smiles and laughter simply by sharing a love for a sport that has given me so much.”
Who is your hero? “My everyday inspiration was my father (Dr. George R. Allshouse) who taught me a love of learning, a sense of curiosity, compassion, generosity, the 360 degree world of sports both recreational and professional, and the importance to do what you love even if the less conventional path, and share that with others.”
By Faran Fagen = Palm Beach Post
Special to The Palm Beach Post