Virginia Squash with long term access for its programs at two public squash facilities—the Downtown Richmond YMCA and the Massad Family YMCA in Fredericksburg—has become the ninth US Squash Community Affiliate.
Ten years ago, Virginia Squash began its public programming on converted racquetball courts at a YMCA in downtown Richmond, where the organization founded SquashRocks!—an inner city youth squash program providing academic and social support in partnership with local out of school time organizations. In 2017, the YMCA announced the closing of this branch, leaving Virginia Squash and its programs without a home.
A local and national effort to relocate the Virginia Squash community ensued and following a successful capital campaign and additional support from the US Squash Racquetball Conversion Fund, Virginia Squash found a new home in the form of three converted racquetball courts at the Downtown Richmond YMCA completed in early 2018.
With the foundation of a new facility, Virginia Squash established Virginia Community Squash—a complementary initiative focusing on increasing participation at all levels and introducing new players to the game in partnership with the YMCA, NextUp RVA, Richmond Public Schools and other community-based organizations. Today the Richmond YMCA has a vibrant community of nearly 100 players and numerous competitive league teams. In December 2019, Virginia Squash expanded its impact with another racquetball court conversion at the Massad Family YMCA in Fredericksburg.
“The mission of Virginia Squash is to enrich lives through youth and community programs and create access to the sport, so it made perfect sense that we should drive our programs forward in alignment with the US Squash Community Affiliate Network,” said John Patton, Virginia Squash President. “Virginia Squash is a completely volunteer-driven organization and the Richmond and Fredericksburg squash communities have already impacted so many families and introduced the sport to new players over the past decade, and we’re excited to expand our reach with the support of the Community Affiliate Network.”
Virginia Squash, which was founded in the 70’s, will focus on expanding horizontally in the near term, establishing new partnerships with school and community-based support organizations in order to engage new players at all levels. In addition to SquashRocks! and other youth programs, Virginia Squash provides support and equipment to the Mufulira Squash Club in Zambia, home club of Country Club of Virginia professional Patrick Chifunda, an active figure in Virginia Squash programs and Richmond squash. The organization also offers a discretionary squash scholarship for young players and grants to provide opportunities to attend overnight squash camps.
As a Community Affiliate, Virginia Squash joins the SL Green StreetSquash Center in Harlem, MetroSquash in Chicago, Portland Community Squash in Maine, Atlanta Community Squash, Access Youth Academy in San Diego, Urban Squash Cleveland, and the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
No matter where you play squash – outdoor courts, universities, independent schools, SEA facilities, community centers, or commercial courts – if your program has a non-profit element and you are committed to building an inclusive community, learn more about joining the Community Affiliate Network.