Community Squash Organizers Plan Collaboration and Expansion at U.S. Open

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l-r: Jason Osborne (NC), Barrett Takesian (ME), Sarah Stickney (ME), Elise Malongi (ME), Karthik Sundaramoorthy (NC), Soo Venkatesan (US Squash Board Chair), Cory Collman (NY), Kiran Thakkar (TX)

Community squash leaders met at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center during the 2021 U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist, one year after US Squash established the Community Affiliate Network.

The group reviewed progress against the goals for the network of mission-aligned affiliate network in its first year–including documenting the model in print and video, accrediting eight facilities, identifying thirty-six emerging markets, and establishing monthly info sessions–and future collaboration and expansion for the year ahead.

“It was fitting to host this meeting at the Specter Center–the Community Affiliate Network’s anchor–the day after it officially opened,” said Barrett Takesian, US Squash Senior Advisor for Community Programs. “In the year ahead, US Squash will continue building momentum by welcoming more emerging, local, and regional affiliates, as well as working to strengthen the tools that power our mission to fill courts around the country with youth and families from the entire community.

In its first year, the Community Affiliate Network has grown to include Virginia Squash, 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.

“Each time the community affiliate network gets together I come to learn the best practices, and I come away inspired that we have everything we need in our own community,” said Karthik Sundaramoorthy, who leads an emerging affiliate program in Durham, NC. “This movement will involve us all, and that’s what makes community squash so special.”

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.

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