FSPC Looking Back & Ahead

                                                                                                                                                    January 2, 2017

Hello FSPC members!

It has been quite a year for our club with a new Board following the departure of our founders who continue to travel across the US playing pickleball.  Oh, what a life! Oh, what a Year!!

Here are some of the highlights from this past year:

The opening of Sports at the Beach in Georgetown was a new addition to our venues and we are very grateful for the opportunity. Michelle and Pete Townsend have been so welcoming and wonderful to us in meeting the interests of the community.  We cannot thank them enough for all that they have done for the pickleball community.  Michelle has been instrumental in getting our website organized and making it more informational and user friendly.  Michelle, we cannot thank you enough for all of the hours you have given to our club to make this happen.

FSPC was featured on the WHYY’s  “First” program featuring good things happening in Delaware.  It was a great promotional piece for pickleball throughout Delaware.  Thanks to all who participated! Vaughn Baker also served as our press man and had many articles published for our Club and to promote the sport of pickleball and celebrate FSPC events.  Thank you Vaughn!!

We also had Vaughn Baker organize a very successful demo event at Sea Colony that has allowed many who attended to take up the sport.  That was an amazing event with radio talk hosts, writers and tennis pros playing to our delight.  Many people attended and were treated to their first chance at playing the game and they had a blast.

Nan Colella managed to get a demo clinic into Cheers for the very first time and was even featured in an article locally.  Nan also organized play at JM Clayton for “Nights with Nan” and it was a huge success.

Kathy Aldridge has served as the court manager for all sessions at Dave Marshall’s for the summer and throughout the winter.  She has worked tirelessly to make it work there and to make sure that that venue remains open for Pickleball throughout the year.  So, please remember to check on www.firststatepickleball.org for days and time.  It is very important that you sign up so that we know how many to expect.

Charlie Biddle is  overseeing the Adult Education class at JM Clayton on Tuesday evenings (sold out) for the entire school year. Thank you Charlie!  On a sad note, we were not successful in getting into JM Clayton on Sunday mornings this year.

Joe Wright has been instrumental in raising money to purchase more nets for Kent County Recreation Center. Joe also donated The FSPC stickers that we sell at various events.

Our number one Club goal this year was to develop a communication strategy that would make getting information into your hands more easily. We want to minimize the number of emails sent out but still communicate effectively to our membership. Our club has grown to 430 members in just two years!! It was critical that we find a way to communicate club news and resources in a simplified manner and hope that the website www.firststatepickleball.org is your go to for everything Pickleball.  Please bookmark the website so that you can easily access the site whenever you need to find out where and when to play.  All of our Sign Ups will be on the website linked with named event. We will continue to send out a news blast once or twice a month as news in generated but all Sign Up activity will be through the FSPC webpage.

We have added PayPal to our membership system to make processing fees much easier with fewer steps.  Because our numbers continue to grow, it is imperative that we find technology based systems to simplify the processes for our club. Please remember that everything we do is done by volunteers.  We have decided to move some of the Treasurer’s workload to a professional due to the legal and IRS implications of making sure that we are doing what is required by law.  We will continue to look for cost effective strategies to keep club expenses low and use efficient and effective technologies where we can do so.  Our goal is to utilize volunteers everywhere that we can to keep the level of play moving upward and hosting tournaments, challenges and clinics ongoing.

Our 2016 tournaments, challenges and clinics were very successful and feedback has been fantastic on every event held by FSPC.  They are as follows for a trip down memory lane:

Beach Blast – a competitive tournament for all levels of play

Rookie Challenge – a friendly random draw event to welcome players to fun organized play

Ambassador’s Party and Sunday Social Play weekend

Coats, Hats, Mittens and Pickles where we gave back to the community and had fun at the same time.

Toys for Tots Holiday Round Robin at Dave Marshall’s Tennis and Fitness Facility at the Plantations

Toys for Tots at Sports at the Beach where Random Partners met to take overall medals.

A special call out out to Dudley Sluder! He is always the first one at the arrive before an event to make sure that the nets are at the right height, tape is down and the balls are marked and ready to go. His efforts to help organize and recruit are appreciated by all and we are grateful for him and his wife  In addition, after DMs courts were redone, Dudley went over to remark all of the courts with black dots so that others can put down the tape without needing to premeasure each time.  Dudley also recruits others to make this all happen without a hitch.  Marisa, you were part of that for the big Holiday tournament.

Dudley has marked and painted countless courts with precision and care in multiple communities.  Dudley is a  USAPA Ambassador for Pickleball and has helped many by introducing the game, coaching people and cheering on others good deeds.  Think, Nights with Nan and her membership drive this summer.

Dudley is a foot soldier who never wants the credit but we must take a moment to let him know how invaluable he has been to our great fun, laughter, challenges and tournaments.  His generous heart is most appreciated in the Toys for Tots at DM and SATB this year.  In addition, the Coat Challenge was a smashing success with his design.

We are enormously indebted to both Dudley and his wife, Janet for all of her support to making this Pickleball community such a wonderful success.

Sports at the Beach, Dave Marshall’s and The Factory provided a generous donation of 16 free sessions of play from each venue in support of a charity for the holidays to those in need.    That raffle generated $795.00 in total for the Immanuel Shelter and they were very grateful to get the money as they were opening on December 1st.  They serve the homeless in our area when temperatures plummet.

On November 5th we held a clinic to help members develop new skills by setting up skill stations on 5 courts where each group met with a different instructor to get help with pickleball skills.

Vaughn Baker was the master mind on this one and we are so grateful to all of our instructors for their contributions. We had a huge turnout and feedback was very positive for this event for everyone involved.

Georgia Billger has held multiple clinics in Lewes, Sports at the Beach and Dave Marshall’s.  Too many to name but Georgia has been instrumental in teaching so many of us and we are soooooo grateful for her insights and wisdom!!  Georgia’s clinics generated enough money to help purchase a ball machine that was used recently in one of her clinics and that kicked up the intensity of learning another level.

We have had many other successes this year from our Social Committee planning monthly events around the area so that we could take time to know each other a little better and have some fun.   Paradise Grill, a picnic at Gordon’s Pond and a night out to hear Bryan Clark sing his tunes. The most recent holiday party was a great deal of fun with great food, location and the “Over Time” band kept us dancing throughout the evening.  Robbin Murray put together a great slide show from across the year that allowed us to all take a minute to share those memories with each other.

Thanks to all who contributed to a wonderful year of pickleball and socializing.

Looking ahead, your Board will be meeting to put together a calendar of events for all of 2017.  Our goal is to give as much advanced notice as possible so that you can be sure to attend the events that you want in on so be sure to keep checking the FSPC webpage.

Both Sports at the Beach and Dave Marshall want to hold more challenges and tournaments this year so stay tuned for more details.

A very exciting event will be three days of clinics with Prem Carnot, the “Pickleball Guru” and author of “Smart Pickleball” who will be at the JM Clayton outdoor courts on July 11,12 and 13, 2017.  The link for more information about the clinics and to register is on our webpage 2017 Prem Event >

Al Gratz and Jean Burgess have agreed to hold a couple of sessions for players interested in understanding the rules and those who would consider being a referee.  We had our first run at refereeing for the DE Senior Olympics and feedback was good for those who took it on as a new experience.

We will be holding events very similar to what we had in 2016 for tournaments, challenges and clinics.  In a couple of days you will receive a survey asking for your input on suggestions for 2017 on any topic you wish to contribute.  We love getting your input and feedback so please take a couple of minutes to complete the survey.

Dana Aultman’s tenure as Treasurer is coming to a close at the end of January. Dana has served this club since the beginning and for 3 years of service to this organization.  He is our “data dog” and has kept our books, membership database, Quick books for income and expense tracking, taxes and financial data on track.  Some of his position will be given to an outside party for completion so that we are in compliance and so that the amount of work is taken off of the Treasurer and that only the following tasks are:

  • Pay all club bills and manage club checkbook
  • File tax documents and pay taxes
  • Keep accounting up-to-date with QuickBooks
  • Provide Financial statements to the club and accountant
  • Make bank deposits
  • Manage Club credit card account
  • Manage Club insurance needs
  • **Process Club memberships
  • **Maintain Master Member List Spreadsheet

We are in need of any one or group of people who would be willing to take on this position. **We are recommending that a Membership Committee be formed to take this from the Treasurer.  Dana has agreed to train whomever takes his position and to serve as a consultant to the new team.

In addition, if you have an interest in taking on the Vice President’s position, or President’s position, or be a Member-at-Large, please send me your name so that we can include you in the ballot.  A separate letter will be coming out to describe the duties for each position. Also, the FSPC Bylaws will be distributed right after the first of the year for your review and comment.

It is essential that we find people interested in taking on leadership positions to keep this club running.  Please think about your skills and background to take on the open positions. As Acting President and Vice President, it has been my honor to serve the club membership in developing the vision and following the mission of the First State Pickleball Club.  However, it is time for more people to step up and take on some of these tasks. With a base of 400 plus people I know that some of you have the skills to fill these positions.

So, think about joining in on the fun and satisfaction that comes from seeing so many pickleball players have great fun, advance their skills and face challenges on the court whether for fun or competition.

Hope to see you on the courts!

Kathy Casey
Acting President
First State Pickleball Club, Inc.
301-518-3434 (cell)