Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Intermountain Wyoming has recognized the department and a dedicated volunteer with two distinguished awards.
USTA Intermountain Wyoming is recognizing Jackson resident Diane McGee as the 2022 “Art Frakt” Adult Volunteer of the Year for her passion of teaching tennis and taking the Parks and Recreation Youth Tennis Program to the next level, and the Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation Department is being recognized as the 2022 Organization of the Year.
The Volunteer of the Year award is named after former Jackson resident Art Frakt, who was a longtime USTA Wyoming player, official, and volunteer. The award is given each year to a volunteer in Wyoming who has given valuable contributions to the growth and development of tennis in the community.
“We are so lucky to have Diane as part of our Parks and Recreation family and I cannot express enough about how deserving she is for this award,” said Teton County Parks and Recreation Director Steve Ashworth.
McGee, who has called Jackson her home since 2003, has been working as the tennis coach and volunteering her time with Parks and Recreation since 2019, teaching both children and adults through the various tennis programs.
“It is a great mix because I love the sport of tennis, and I love sharing it with others,” said McGee. “Facilitating the learning of the kids, especially to improve their athletic skills of agility, balance, and coordination, as well as learning and executing tennis movement skills of sending and receiving tennis balls is really a thrill.”
McGee’s passion for tennis extends to volunteering with local non-profit Teton County Community Tennis Association and the Wyoming Tennis Association, which is an arm of the U.S. Tennis Association in Wyoming. You can learn more about them on Facebook or Instagram. She also facilitates an open, free, tennis mixer for adults at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday nights at the High School courts. She says tennis is more than just a sport; it teaches players about life skills.
“We always talk about and apply character development concepts both on and off the court, such as listening, respect, effort, teamwork, responsibility, sportsmanship, and patience,” said McGee. “One of the highlights of coaching this program is to have kids who keep returning, some of whom I’ve coached for 4 years, and I hope for them to someday play on the high school tennis team!”
Parks and Recreation Program Manager Rachael Zimmerman says McGee works behind the scenes to sort out logistics and providing communication with parents. Zimmerman says McGee has even applied for grants that have helped secure funds to purchase tennis equipment and other items that benefit players.
“Diane has been instrumental in the success of our Tennis program. She has stayed diligent in maintaining communications with the community, creating new opportunities, and helping us train and find new support instructors. She always brings such a fun vibe to the program and inspires all who participate to love the game just as much as she does. She is such an asset to our organization, and we are lucky to have her as a part of our team.”
When McGee isn’t teaching tennis, she can be found enjoying the great outdoors with her husband Scott, her two daughters and their dog; cooking; managing her own preschool Tiny Explorers LLC; volunteering at her church; and you guessed it, playing tennis!
“I am really humbled to receive this award and will continue to help share my passion for coaching and growing this amazing sport of tennis with kids and adults in our community and across Wyoming,” McGee said.
Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation was recognized as the 2022 Organization of the Year, which is given annually to a USTA organization member for standing out as a leader, supporting community tennis programs, and local community.
“Parks and Recreation Staff and Advisory Board have been 100% behind providing tennis opportunities year-round for youth in Jackson and also supporting the growth of this sport by expanding offerings,” said McGee. “I look forward to continuing to work with them both on and off the court to provide affordable, public tennis for all ages well into the future.”
Ashworth says the youth tennis program really ramped up during the COVID-19 pandemic, and credits staff and volunteers like McGee, for building a terrific program, especially during difficult times.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Ashworth.
For more information on the Youth Tennis Program and year-around opportunities, please visit the tetonparksandrec.org.