Hello Fellow Picklers,
We reached a new milestone celebrating over 500 members in the St James Pickleball Association (SJPA)! SJPA is robust and with so many members our needs and desires will be easier to secure. Your voice will drive the change we need and by joining the SJPA your voice is heard!
Many of you are not aware of just how far we have come. I remember playing pickleball in 2018 on two courts at Seaside, one we shared with basketball. We had portable nets and lines that conflicted with basketball lines. In the Spring of 2018, Cindy Hettinger and a group of pickleball enthusiasts felt the need to organize so players could get in contact with others to set up games. The attendance was overwhelming. At that time, Greg Rymer was the tennis Pro, and he gave a demonstration. Beginners picked up paddles for the first time to try it out. And so, it began!
The membership grew, play increased and additional courts were needed. The SJPA Board members, at that time, began working with Troon to locate a place for additional courts. It was a long process but in January 2021 we had the grand opening of Greg Rymer Pickleball courts. It is inspiring to see how many folks are utilizing the courts and making new friends.
I continue to work with Troon Management to strive to improve the quality and quantity of pickleball facilities in St James Plantation. The SJPA Board, Deb Chiarello, Vice President, Kathy McArthur, Treasurer and Mary Heatherly, secretary, oversee the various social, philanthropic, and competitive events designed to promote and enhance the pickleball community at The Clubs at St. James. Mary and Deb are currently working with a vendor to create an easy ordering process for pickleball apparel.
Many of the initial plans and projects have come to fruition. The long-awaited bathrooms are open, and we have a water and ice machine! We have shade! The gangway between the eight courts has a well-designed blue and white stripped awning covering the full length of the courts. The Jed Deritis memorial fund graciously provided three beautiful picnic tables with umbrellas. We talked about having lighted courts since the early days playing at Seaside. The Rymer courts now have night lighting.
The past six months have flown by and many of us have enjoyed the social events as well as the events on the courts. We have Pat Allred, Social Chair, and Joe Geise, Event Chair, and their hard-working committees to thank for the exciting tournaments and fun events. Look forward to the SJPA Battle of the Paddle Team Tournament. Sign up started 8/1/22 for the three-day event. There will be organized play, pizza lunch on Saturday and the banquet on Sunday evening for $30.
Please remember that if you are unable to attend any event after registering, that you formally withdrawal your name as a participant at your earliest convenience, to free up the space for others who are eager to attend and participate. Failing to unregister causes much disruption for the participants, leaving courts with an odd number of players, and challenges for the volunteers planning the event.
This year the board created a Sunshine Committee and Kathy Golizek and her team have been busy reaching out to those members of our pickleball community who are experiencing, illness, surgery, family crisis, etc.
Diane Norton, Instruction chairperson, and her team continue to provide basic pickleball instruction and rules to new members of the community. This year, they introduced over 125 attendees to the game at the New to Pickleball Events.
We raised funds for local organizations such as Relay For Life and Mathew’s Ministry. Diana Kelly is the lead on the Sneaker Recycling drive to support WAVES 4 K.I.D.S. and tohelp our environment by keeping sneakers out of our landfills.
You can find the events, social events, and other information at www.stjamespickleball.com. Please feel free to contact me, or any members of the SJPA board with any questions, suggestions, or concerns.