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.
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.
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.
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.
Completed in 2015, The Hussain MetroSquash Center in Woodlawn has allowed MetroSquash to double the number of students served, and the program now serves over 400 students and their families each year. In Fall 2018, MetroSquash opened a second location in Evanston to serve students just north of Chicago where they utilize academic and court space at the McGaw YMCA to offer programming for forty 6th-8th graders. MetroSquash will implement expanded programs for students from local schools in the Woodlawn community in addition to expanding student access to their core after-school programs.
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.
SL Green StreetSquash Center
StreetSquash has been on the forefront of community engagement since 1999 when it became the second Squash and Education Alliance (SEA) program in the country. StreetSquash’s SL Green facility, which was built in 2008, anchors a squash hotbed in the nation’s largest city, serving local youth and families through its after-school program, providing competitive space for local universities and schools, and hosting regular New York Squash leagues and other community events.
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.
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
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
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.