By Suzanne Dent, Net News Editor
ALTA’s officers showcased successes of the past year at the 2016 Annual Meeting held in November and assured members that the organization’s future is in good hands.
Among the accomplishments listed by Chairman of the Board Dorian Jefferson were sponsorship of the BB&T Atlanta Open, financial support for tennis-related charities and improved communication with members.
Participation at the BB&T Atlanta Open offered tournament attendees exposure to ALTA and perks for members through clinics for Junior Challenge Ladder players, free tickets to junior players who won City Finals, a Run ‘n Roll exhibition, three coin tosses by ALTA officials and interaction with non-members at ALTA’s tent.
Jefferson also cited close to $100,000 awarded to tennis-related charities via The ALTA Foundation. These funds supported a number of charitable efforts in 2016, including Volley Against Violence, Special Olympics Georgia and the Henry County Geranium Festival Wheelchair Tournament, among many others.
He also reported that additional funds were committed to enhance email communication with members, and that ALTA will now have a representative on the Georgia Tennis Foundation board, which cements ALTA’s bonds with Atlanta’s tennis community.
Looking ahead, the Board of Directors charged two committees with assessing other needs. Because of technology and today’s remote operations, the Long-Range Planning Committee will research ALTA’s office needs with the goal of eliminating waste and reducing costs. A Membership Committee was appointed to develop a plan to attract new members and retain current members. “We have observed that our tennis population is getting a bit older, and we need to find ways to attract younger folks as well as focus some energy on ways to reach those new to the area,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson also noted the passing of four ALTA volunteers: 1988 President Molissa Simmons and longtime coordinators Sandra Wiley, Mark Smith and John Brewer.
Outgoing President Marla Michalewicz echoed in her report many of the accomplishments touted by Jefferson, adding that ALTA managed 10,170 teams in 2016, which means the average ALTA member plays on three teams annually. ALTA also approved 10 new facilities, which gives even more Atlanta residents the opportunity to play recreational tennis.
“It’s mind-boggling when you realize that an organization of this size depends so much on volunteers,” she said. “The contribution of time, talent and energy cannot be quantified.”
She reported that parents of Junior Leagues players were surveyed on ways to improve tennis for younger members, noting “a big part of ALTA’s future depends on the Junior Leagues.”
In presenting his report, Treasurer Terry Godbold said ALTA continues to be in strong financial shape. The organization realized “good returns on investments” in 2016 and reduced expenses in three areas: credit card fees, building maintenance and website management. He also credited volunteers for staying within budget.
The meeting featured the presentation of awards to top volunteers, including recognition for 2016 Coordinators of the Year (see next page). New officers were also elected and installed. You can get acquainted with your new officers for 2017 on pages 24-30. Another order of business was to approve a bylaw change allowing members of the Board of Directors to cast votes by email.
In his speech, newly installed President Bob Fitzgerald said his goals for 2017 include growing the membership and improving the ALTA experience. “We have major competition for how people want to spend their time, and we need to be aware of that,” he said. “Listening to our members is critical to this process.”
He praised the efforts of volunteers. “I have nothing but great respect and admiration for the volunteers and leaders who are — and have been — part of ALTA. This incredible organization would not be here without their vision and selfless efforts,” Fitzgerald said. “It sounds simple, but the many hours and details that go into setting up and completing matches all over metro Atlanta in a dozen leagues can get more than a little bit complicated. But the job gets done.”