THE US SQUASH COMMUNITY INITIATIVE

The goal of the Community Initiative is to provide access and lifelong engagement in squash to people spanning the entire socio-economic spectrum, fostering lasting relationships across generations, genders, races and religions and building a lasting and diverse community rooted in shared values.

Building off a strong foundation of traditional club and school-based models, squash communities of the future will be built around multi-purpose facilities which integrate a full range of programming. These community squash centers, featuring both indoor and outdoor courts, will dramatically increase access to the sport and bring a growing and diverse community together.

This evolution of the sport requires investments in infrastructure to support the efforts of squash leaders nationwide, and to make gains in access sustainable. The US Squash Community Initiative, anchored by the Community Affiliate Network, will stimulate and support the establishment of centers nationwide.

Community Affiliate Network

The Community Affiliate Network (CAN) establishes more formal relationships between US Squash and non-profit facilities that advance the goals of the Community Initiative, deliver US Squash programs and closely align with US Squash’s mission of promoting squash’s growth and development by increasing access and awareness, supporting meaningful lifelong engagement in the sport, and encouraging sportsmanship while achieving competitive excellence. CAN facilities conduct programming inclusive of junior scholastic squash team programs, junior squash grassroots development and high-performance programs, squash and education programs, adult squash development, and accredited leagues, ladders, and tournaments to provide access to squash for all.

CAN Support
In support of this program, US Squash has brought on Barrett Takesian, the Portland Community Squash founder and executive director, in the role of US Squash Senior Advisor for Community Programs. In doing so US Squash seeks to establish a national network of Community Affiliates to create broad access to squash, both indoors and out. In the role, Takesian will provide professional expertise to accelerate the launch of more Community Affiliates with the clear focus of improving access, equity and community integration within the sport, supporting emerging community squash programs and reviewing community squash planning and organizing. Nearly two dozen communities have already expressed interest in creating Community Affiliate facilities.
CAN Accreditation Tiers, Criteria, and Benefits
US Squash offers the ‘Community Affiliate’ accreditation at three tiers: Tier I: Emerging Community Affiliate Criteria:

  • Non-profit squash facility that demonstrates a commitment to access;
  • Clear strategies to remove barriers to participation.

Benefits:

  • Inclusion in the Community Affiliate Network;
  • Use of the Community Affiliate brand and marketing materials;
  • Programmatic assistance and the sharing of best practices;
  • Full use of Club Locker software and all support services at best rates available.

Tier II: Local Community Affiliate  Criteria:

  • Non-profit squash facilities that demonstrate a commitment to access;
  • Clear strategies to remove barriers to participation;
  • Programs in place that provide lasting engagement for youth and adults;
  • Annual financial assistance (includes expenses to address other barriers) must surpass 10% of annual squash related revenues;

Benefits:

  • Inclusion in the Community Affiliate Network;
  • Use of the Community Affiliate brand and marketing materials;
  • Programmatic assistance and the sharing of best practices;
  • Full use of Club Locker software and all support services at best rates available;
  • Coordination on pilot program implementation.

Tier III: Regional Community Affiliate  Criteria:

  • Non-profit squash facilities that demonstrate a commitment to access;
  • Clear strategies to remove barriers to participation;
  • Programs in place that provide lasting engagement for youth and adults;
  • Annual financial assistance (includes expenses to address other barriers) must surpass 20% of annual squash related revenues;
  • Organizational commitment to move beyond access work into equity and integration work;
  • Enough court and organizational capacity to host major events for the region;
  • Proven operating experience;
  • Desire to support other local community affiliates.

Benefits:

  • Inclusion in the Community Affiliate Network;
  • Use of the Community Affiliate brand and marketing materials;
  • Programmatic assistance and the sharing of best practices;
  • Full use of Club Locker software and all support services at best rates available;
  • Coordination on pilot program implementation;
  • Integration with national high performance Team USA program;
  • Hosting of major regional and national level competitions.

CAN Application
Interested organizations should pursue the following steps:

  • Submit the application information requested below to Barrett Takesian, US Squash Senior Advisor for Community Programs: barrett.takesian@ussquash.org
  • US Squash will set up a call to discuss the application
  • If your organization meets the criteria, US Squash will issue an accreditation and publish a press release announcing your organization’s participation in the Community Affiliate Network (CAN)

Application Details Please provide the following:

  • Organization: Name, Phone, Address, Mission Statement
  • Organizational Contact: Name, Title, Email, Phone, Number of years with organization
  • 501c3 Approval Letter from IRS
  • Most recent 990 tax filing
  • Current year budget
  • Rough court matrix of weekday and weekend usage
  • Board of Directors: Names
  • Staff: Names, Titles, Emails
  • Safety: Proof of Insurance, Student Protection Plan
  1. Provide a brief history of your organization.
  2. Accessible squash facilities strive to represent the racial and socio-economic diversity of the surrounding area. Which communities do you include in your service area, and what are the racial and socio-economic demographics of those communities?
  3. Please provide a list and short descriptions for your current programs. The descriptions should include estimates about annual program costs/revenues, program enrollment, program capacity, and any available demographic information.Examples of programs offered by existing Community Affiliates include: membership, adult skill level clinics, adult box leagues, adult ladders, adult team leagues, adult pubic clinics, youth clinics, youth leagues, youth school programs, collegiate programs, squash and education programs, summer camps, elite training academies, free public access, drop in play, school day physical education, tournaments, private lessons, social events, wellness classes, and more…
  4. What strategies does your organization deploy to improve access to your programs? Please make reference to any available financial aid, transportation assistance, or inclusive marketing tactics.
  5. Please provide a rough estimate of your annual financial assistance broken down by program. In addition to financial assistance, feel free to include expenses related to fighting transportation and marketing barriers.
  6. Access is about making neighbors of all backgrounds feel at home at the courts. Equity is about using the organization’s resources to meet neighbors where they are and move forward. Integration is about helping neighbors form lasting relationships across lines of difference. Has your organization made progress on the Equity and Integration goals above?
  7. Does your organization have enough staff and court capacity to host major events for your region?
  8. Does your organization wish to promote community squash initiatives in your region?
  9. Why does your organization wish to join the Community Affiliate Network?

CAN Model

Community Affiliate Network Facilities

Atlanta Community Squash

Comprising five singles courts and one hardball doubles court, ACS provides affordable access to squash in Atlanta for all levels of play and is the new home of A+ Squash, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that transforms the lives of young people through the sport of squash and ongoing educational support.

Read more…

Newport County YMCA

Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the Newport County YMCA (NCYMCA) will expand its facility in 2022 to include seven squash courts (six singles, one doubles) in one of the most intentional investments in squash courts and programming by a YMCA anywhere in the country. In addition to serving nearly 10,000 members, the NCYMCA has welcomed RhodySquash, an organization serving local youth, into the YMCA family and will provide the organization with dedicated space within the squash facility.

Read more…

Portland Community Squash

We are a non-profit community center delivering squash, wellness, and education in Portland, ME. We seek to unite neighbors of all ages and backgrounds and to fully support youth on their journeys from elementary school into adulthood. We believe that a commitment to access, equity, and integration makes every community stronger.

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Access Youth Academy

Access Youth Academy was created in 2006 to transform the lives of underserved youth through academic mentorship and urban squash. In a 12-year commitment that begins in 7th grade, Access students embark on a curriculum of intellectual, physical, and social development where academic enrichment, sports training, and financial support combine to help them realize their full potential.

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Urban Squash Cleveland

Founded in 2012, Urban Squash Cleveland spent the first six years operating a SEA program at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. In 2018, the organization opened a state-of-the-art facility featuring four squash courts and two classrooms on the campus of Urban Community School. Today, the programs have grown to include forty-seven students in the SEA program, community memberships, lessons, clinics, leagues, tournaments, camps, and school-day physical education.

Read more…

Arlen Specter US Squash Center

Opening in 2021 as the anchor facility of the Community Affiliate Network, the Specter Center will utilize its 20 courts, located on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia in 1 of 22 federally-designated Promise Zones, the Community Initiative ​will focus on engaging the entire community under one roof: Squash + Education Alliance participants, after school programs, public schools and universities, community partners, area residents, all to be playing and socializing alongside recreational squash players, league players, all the way up to the Team USA women and men who will be in residence and training at the center.

The Community Initiative work at the Specter Center will be a model for other squash facilities around the country. The Community Initiative program director, the U.S. National Teams Coach and other members of US Squash will travel to clubs, schools, universities and public squash facilities to help establish their own broad community programming and best practices nationwide.

Community Squash Advisors

Barrett Takesian

In a first-of-its-kind partnership Barrett and US Squash have come together to provide professional expertise to accelerate the launch of more affiliates. As Senior Advisor for Community Programs, Barrett is focused on improving access, equity, and integration within the sport. Barrett works with emerging community squash programs and reviews community squash applications.

Awards and Accreditations

Community Initiative Award

Each year, a US Squash Community Initiative Award will be given to honor the efforts of an individual or of a family who has done outstanding work to help make the sport of squash truly inclusive.

Inclusive Space Accreditation

Facilities that host Squash + Education Alliance participants and US Squash events, should strongly consider the inclusive space accreditation. To earn this accreditation, facilities must display a statement of inclusion on their website and commit to at least one annual training on one of the following topics: intercultural communication, implicit bias, or systemic racism.

Inclusive Space Pledge

Community Affiliate Announcements

US Squash Celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month

June marks LGBTQ+ Pride Month around the world and is a time to celebrate LGBTQ+ people and diversity, remember the history of the LGBTQ+...

Newport County YMCA Joins US Squash Community Affilliate Network

US Squash has announced the Newport County YMCA (NCYMCA) in Rhode Island, as the sixth facility to be accredited as an official US Squash...

“Specter Center, You Belong” Campaign: Memberships Set to Launch June 1 

The Arlen Specter US Squash Center will begin offering memberships on June 1, 2021 as it invites families to be a part of the world’s largest community...

YES Let’s! Kids Raise Their Voice

For the last decade US Squash ‘s focus has been rooted in its four core objectives: access, community, excellence and sportsmanship. This remains the...

Chicago’s MetroSquash Joins Community Affiliate Network

US Squash has announced MetroSquash in Chicago as the fifth facility to be accredited as an official US Squash Community Affiliate. Metrosquash joins as...

Springtime Reveals US Squash Activity Ready to Bloom

With the prospect of the U.S. confidently emerging from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the pathway back to active lives including squash is...

US Squash Celebrates International Women’s Day 2021

US Squash joins the world and global squash community in celebrating International Women’s Day 2021, March 8, a day celebrating the social, cultural, and...

Community Affiliate Highlight: Converting Courts to Classrooms at ACS

Shortly after its grand opening in January 2020, Atlanta Community Squash (ACS)—which over a year ago was the first facility to join the US Squash Community...

Inside the Specter Center: February Update

Construction at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, located on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia, continues to progress towards its planned 2021...

US Squash Recognizes Urban Squash Cleveland as Fourth Community Affiliate

US Squash has recognized Urban Squash Cleveland as the fourth facility--and the first in the Midwest--to be accredited as an official US Squash Community...