MADISON- For more than 30 years, the Youth Development Association (YDA) has served North Alabama by expanding student life experiences through tennis and encouraging these students to strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives. The YDA has received many accolades for its work with local youth and the awards keep on coming.
The United States Tennis Association of Alabama has selected YDA as the 2022 recipient of the USTA Alabama Community Tennis Association’s Award of the Year. The award recognizes YDA for making a significant contribution to the game of tennis by promoting USTA programs and promoting the growth of tennis by being diverse and inclusive.
“I have a growing understanding and knowledge of the many important contributions made to the Alabama Tennis Association, so we don’t take this award lightly,” said YDA Executive Director Al Garrett.
The YDA is a 501C(3) non-profit organization and has been led since its inception by Garrett who is also a tennis coach, ordained minister, husband and mentor. The YDA is one of 294 United States Tennis Association Foundation national junior tennis and learning chapters in the country and the only chapter in the Madison area. Through its tennis program, YDA provides college tuition, character and life skills training, and health and nutrition programs to low-income students who may have academic and behavioral difficulties. Garrett began his journey with YDA in 1991.
“The USTA Alabama Awards Committee wishes to extend its sincerest congratulations on this well-deserved honor, as the organization has rendered exceptional service to tennis and USTA Alabama is very proud to recognize your accomplishments,” said Barbara. Ernest, Chair of the USTA Southern Awards Committee.
Based in Madison, the 68-year-old Garrett began his love of tennis in 1975 and quickly became a pioneer in the local sports scene as an A-list player who started tennis programs in Madison in 1992 with the help from the Madison. Recreation Department. His role continues today as a general manager and tennis instructor.
“You cannot imagine the excitement and spirit of gratitude we all feel and express upon receiving this award,” added Garrett. “I thank our Chairman of the Board (YDA), Board Members, Staff, Volunteers, Players and Families. We cannot achieve our success without all of us working together.