US Squash has announced the Newport County YMCA (NCYMCA) in Rhode Island, as the sixth facility to be accredited as an official US Squash Community Affiliate.
In one of the most intentional investments by a YMCA into squash courts and related youth and adult programming, the Newport County YMCA (NCYMCA) has merged with RhodySquash, an organization serving local youth, welcoming it into the NCYMCA family. The NCYMCA will break ground on a 20,000 square foot expansion and renovation next month, including six singles and one hardball doubles court lining the facility’s new front entrance. In addition to the court space, the expansion will include dedicated space for RhodySquash with a squash and education center, community kitchen and locker rooms. Elsewhere in the facility, the renovation will expand the wellness center and gym, new lobby space, and new parking space among other core infrastructure.
Prior to the pandemic, the YMCA boasted 7,000 members, and will hope to reach 10,000 members following the renovation. The NCYMCA members will pass through the squash courts as they enter the building’s main entrance, an aspect NCYMCA CEO Mike Miller hopes will attract more players to the game.
“We wanted the courts to be highly visible inside and outside of the facility to expose it to as many people as possible,” Miller said. “We want to help grow the sport. It’s exciting to think about the potential to introduce the sport to a new population of people who never knew about squash, whether adults or kids. We believe a partnership between RhodySquash and the YMCA will further RhodySquash’s reach, enhance its impact in our community, guarantee its permanence, and increase the overall scale in terms of number of kids served, volunteers regularly involved, and number of donors committed.”
The RhodySquash after-school program strives to be a partnership with school and family, providing a nurturing and supportive environment. The program includes academic tutoring, squash instruction, mentoring, and community service. RhodySquash staff and governance are also throwing their support behind the new merger. RhodySquash director, Ann Guinan, will stay on in a formal role, and a RhodySquash board member will join the NCYMCA board. As a result, 200 YMCA youth will play squash and hundreds more will be exposed to the game. Youth squash programs will be extended to high school. The YMCA will be able to provide squash memberships to individuals and families from all backgrounds.
“When it comes to expanding RhodySquash and other community programs, it’s important for us to be learning from and connecting with the best facilities around the country like those in the US Squash Community Affiliate Network,” Miller said. “These courts are going to create so many more opportunities for our community. Every community is different, and it’s important for us to see how different facilities are utilizing their courts to engage current and future players. We want to bring as many people in as we can, we want to engage the youth that we serve, so it’s a great opportunity for us to see what we can do in Newport.”
The Newport community has been very generous with their philanthropic support to make this growth possible. In appreciation for years of community organizing by both RhodySquash and the YMCA, US Squash is pleased to welcome the Newport County YMCA into the Community Affiliate Network. Senior Advisor of Community Programs, Barrett Takesian, shared, “Mike Miller came to Portland, ME to explore the community squash model in 2018. I was blown away when the plans for their seven court facility hit my desk in early 2021. I cannot wait to welcome their team to our network of mission-aligned facilities.”
No matter where you play your squash – outdoor courts, universities, independent schools, SEA facilities, community centers, or commercial courts - if you have a non-profit element and are committed to building an inclusive community, learn more about joining the Community Affiliate Network.