Great Falls, Montana players support local “Student in Need” program

A letter from Kim Dunlap, USAPA Ambassador in Great Falls, Montana

Great news, about receiving Grant money from USAPA. Here is my pickleball story, which includes a summary of activities.

I first saw a news report on the game of Pickleball mid June 2014. I bought a paddle the next day and have not set it down yet. A friend of mine was the first recruited to play. As it was summer we were play outside in a local park on the tennis court. A man riding his bike to work one Sat. morning was a block away from the park, but he could hear the pop of the pickleball. He rode his bike to the tennis court and said “Tell me you are playing Pickleball”. He had heard about the game but never played. We met the next day to introduce him to the game. I call him pickleball Dave, he and his new hip both enjoy the game.

To increase numbers our group called the TV and local paper both responded with news coverage. Our group is listed weekly in the weekend Hot Ticket which lists things to do in the community.

A summary of activities goes as such: Once winter was approaching (this is Montana) I began seeking indoor space. To my dismay gym space is hard to find and cost money. I was encouraged to contact a church that was reported to have gym space. The pastor called me back the next day and said he would welcome our group because they want to reach out to community. I visited the space and took measurements. Exactly two courts would fit width wise in the gym, which makes the side walls the boundary lines. None the less our group was thrilled to have found a winter home. Moreover, they would not charge for the space.

The next step was to purchase two portable nets and gym floor tape (grant money). We were in business. However, I could not let the generous use of the church gym go unrecognized. I asked the pastor if we could ask for a nominal suggested donation from players to give to the church. He agreed, and since November 1st, 2014 we have donated $200 to the church, which in turn supports a “Student in Need” program at a low income school.

We continue to see new faces at the indoor play and fully expect to continue group play in the summer and expand to 2-3 organized times per week.

Further activities planned:

  • During the local health fair March 2015, set up a booth to demonstrate PB and show videos to introduce and encourage new players to the game
  • Meet with City Park and Rec. to discuss painting pickleball court lines on existing tennis courts.
  • Play pickleball
  • Continue posting on Facebook to keep players informed of activities
  • Play more pickleball
  • Plan for round robin tournament at some point
  • Look toward PB clinics by bringing in experts to build skills
  • Play lots more Pickleball!!!!!!!!!


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