Feldman, Vona named winners of 2013 ITA Collegiate Varsity Awards
Eastern, Mid-Atlantic USTA sections represented in awards
Bonnie Vona was named the ITA Collegiate Varsity Performer of the Year Award and Roberta Feldman was recognized as the ITA Collegiate Varsity Volunteer of the Year. Both individuals will receive a travel stipend to attend the 2013 ITA Coaches Convention at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Fla., where they will be presented with their awards during the 2013 ITA Membership and Awards Banquet held on .
Vona, the 2013 ITA Collegiate Varsity Performer of the Year Award winner, is the Competitive Tennis Manager for the USTA Mid-Atlantic section. She has been a vital part of a number of collegiate showcases, information sessions and forums that help promote varsity college tennis.
Vona said one of the highlights of her job is working on the USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section College Showcase, a key event held for the fifth time in 2013. The showcase gives players a chance to play in front of collegiate tennis coaches and learn more about each school's program.
The event has grown each year, and the 2013 showcase featured 155 players, 45 coaches and more than 40 colleges. "It's so much work, but it's so rewarding," Vona said. "This is a positive event for both the players and the coaches. It is a valuable tool for the coaches, and it starts players on the right track to college tennis."
Vona also helped lead the Adopt-a-Regional initiatives in the Mid-Atlantic section for a third straight year. This year, the Section was able to work with all four USTA/ITA Regional Championships held in its territory. "This year was our best and most successful," Vona said. In addition to having a presence throughout the Championships and helping with the awards ceremony, Vona said they gave each coach a USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section towel to help build a better bond. "We also provided them information on our USTA/ITA Campus Kids' Days and Campus Showdowns plus talked to them about recruiting events," she added.
Vona, who has worked for the USTA for 10 years, first in the Texas Section and now the Mid-Atlantic Section, was very appreciative to win the 2013 ITA Collegiate Varsity Performer of the Year Award.
"It's such an honor," she said. "It's wonderful to be recognized by the USTA and the ITA. It means so much." Vona hopes the award program will inspire other USTA staff to do more. "This award is also a tribute to the other USTA staff. I hope this gets their attention. It's really important to me that it makes them think that we should do more," she said.
2013 ITA Collegiate Varsity Volunteer of the Year Roberta Feldman has been a USTA volunteer for more than 20 years, and has been involved in everything from membership to strategic planning. In addition to having been on the USTA Volunteer National Collegiate Committee for two years and on the Junior Competition Committee, Feldman is now a member and secretary for the USTA Eastern's Junior Tennis Foundation.
She was nominated by Julie Bliss, USTA Eastern's Senior Director, Competition, who said, "Roberta is a very dedicated volunteer who has contributed a great deal of time and energy to the Eastern Section's junior and collegiate competitive pathway. Her experience as a tennis parent, as her son competed on a national and collegiate level, is priceless. She always brings passion and professionalism to every project and it is a pleasure to know and work with her."
Feldman says the best part of her volunteer work is "watching the kids grow and improve and take their tennis to new heights."
She has been a valuable volunteer at events such as the USTA Section College Showcase day and other college information sessions. Feldman's son went through the recruiting process, which allows her to answer a lot of questions families and students have. "It's nice to see these events grow and to be able to speak with prospective players and their families."
Feldman has spent time volunteering for the Adopt-a-Regional initiative that's part of the fall USTA/ITA Regional Championships. She worked with the Section to help leverage the events in their area and says working on such events is important to the USTA Eastern Section. "We just try to grow the Section in any way we can, so when we have an event going on in the Section we show our presence and do whatever we can to let people know what's happening and how to find information and get involved," she said.
Upon being given recognition for her volunteer work, Feldman said. "It's a pleasure to get to work with wonderful people and be honored for something you enjoy doing."
About the ITA Coaches Convention
An annual event since 1985, the ITA Coaches Convention is one of the best professional development opportunities for collegiate tennis coaches today. Nearly 300 men's and women's college tennis coaches at all levels gather each year for the four-day Convention, highlighted by some of the most influential people in the sport of tennis.
In addition to offering clinics, panel discussions, an awards banquet, a trade show and a chance to exchange ideas, the ITA Coaches Convention serves as the venue for the association's annual meetings, which includes Board of Directors, Operating Committee and Roundtable sessions.
About the ITA Collegiate Varsity Awards presented by the USTA
The ITA Collegiate Varsity Performer of the Year, presented by the USTA is awarded to a USTA section staff person who encourages, promotes, organizes and executes campus and community tennis programming while working closely with ITA member varsity coaches, colleges and universities. Specifically, this award recognizes staff members who help coaches host Campus Showdowns, host Campus Kids' Days and who in addition lead Collegiate Information Sessions, Showcases and Forums.
The ITA Collegiate Varsity Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the USTA is awarded to a USTA volunteer who provides a leadership role in encouraging, promoting, organizing and executing campus and community tennis programming while working closely with ITA member varsity coaches, colleges and universities. Specifically, this award recognizes the significant contributions in helping to promote varsity tennis through supporting Campus Kids' Days as well as other outreach events and Collegiate Information Sessions and Forums.