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Tennis grant serves new winter sports program

A new youth tennis program is headed to the rec center courts starting Nov. 21. Park and Rec Director Joey Schugel said they would like to add more sessions after the first one ends Dec. 19, but it will depend on registration numbers.

NEW ULM — A new youth tennis program starting this winter looks to be a win-win for kids and parents.

The program was made possible through a $1,500 grant received by the Park and Rec Commission from the United States Tennis Association at their Monday meeting. Park and Rec director Joey Schugel said it will cover the initial start-up for the program.

“The [USTA] are always looking to grow the game of tennis and what better way to do it [than] with the youth,” he said. “There will be no long-term financial impacts to the department. This [grant] is getting us the supplies we need to start it and then program fees will pay for instructors and [other expenses] in the future.”

The funding opportunity was found by the New Ulm Tennis Association. Schugel said they had expressed great interest in providing this program and had been looking for outside support to get it started. Their dedication was noted by Schugel, as everything had been sorted out and acquired well in advance of the meeting.

“The grant was applied for [and accepted], and dollars have already been received,” he said. “[It hasn’t been approved yet] due to us not having a meeting to do that.”

At first glance, tennis looks like an odd choice for a winter sports program. Schugel said their robust rec center enables them to make good on such an out-of-the-box idea.

“[The program] will be at the rec center [on their indoor multi-purpose courts] during the winter,” he said. “We would like to do a couple of winter sessions leading into the spring. That will be dependent on registration [numbers]. We may offer some things outside in the spring as well but nothing has been determined.”

Registration for the first session is currently open and will close Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. The program is available for kids aged 6-12, runs from Nov. 28 to Dec. 19, and will meet every Tuesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. A New Ulm Park and Rec Account is required to register online. To register, visit https://secure.rec1.com/MN/new-ulm-mn/catalog. For more information, call 507-359-8347 or visit the New Ulm Park and Rec Facebook page.

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