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Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now their bones are being formed, blood being made, and senses being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow.’ His name is today.  

                                                                                                                       ~ Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral

Youth Development Association, Inc.



YDA Vision:

To transform opportunities by inspiring and empowering youth throughout the world to open their minds, challenge the unknown and thrive in their diversity, thus impacting their spiritual, physical, educational and

social welfare through tennis and life skills.


YDA Mission Statement:

To impact and change the lives of youth, to prepare and empower them for leadership in their communities,

and success in their personal lives, through the coaching and teaching of life skills and tennis.


YDA Core Values:

Integrity, Accountability, Diversity, Leadership, Mentorship


YDA Strategic Goals:

1. Develop, implement and facilitate innovative after school programs that inspire underserved youth to reach their full potential as scholar athletes as well as productive, healthy and caring adults.


2. Build and maintain an energetic board of passionate, generous, and resourceful directors and advisory board members fully committed to the mission and vision of YDA while leading the organization’s diverse fund development strategy.


3. Provide programming that is consistent, balanced, organized, and accountable while maintaining flexibility to address unique community logistics and the individual youth served by YDA.


4. Design and establish ideal site characteristics with strong preference for socioeconomically deprived

locations that offer designated court and classroom space.


5. Expand staff positions and promote staff training and development to successfully execute YDA programs.


6. Expand volunteer base of YDA by creating a comprehensive volunteer program and management system to facilitate YDA programs.


7. Strengthen and expand collaborations with public and private organizations, schools, government agencies, and community based organizations, to expand the scope and impact of YDA programs.

Youth Development Association, Inc. (YDA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, first incorporated in 1992. 


Since 1991, YDA has served over 14,000 Alabama students from Cullman in Central Alabama to Florence/Muscle Shoals in North Alabama. YDA is a registered Community Tennis Association (CTA) and was named the Alabama CTA of the Year for 2004.

YDA is one of 294 United States Tennis Association Foundation (USTAF) National Junior Tennis & Learning Chapters (NJTL), and the only chapter in North Alabama. The USTA/NJTL is a nation-wide group of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education. As a part of our NJTL charter, YDA offers academics, character, life skills, STEM, and health and nutrition curricula to low income North Alabama students who are struggling academically and behaviorally. YDA has provided services to Huntsville City Schools under Federal Programs and has been contracted to provided Behavior Intervention and Mentorship.  YDA works with school principals, teachers

and social workers to identify and enroll students with behavior, family and school issues. YDA provides tutoring, life skill development and healthy lifestyle training, along with a high-performance tennis program. YDA also partners with local college students and business leaders to broaden students’ experience and encourage them to strive for excellence.

Our Co-Founder & Executive Director, Al Garrett, is the former City of Madison Director of Tennis for Dublin Park and a former Recreation Board Member.  Coach Garrett is an Alabama High School Athletic Association high school tennis coach.  Coach/Rev. Garrett is the Youth Pastor at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Huntsville; serves at Faith In Action Alabama (FIAA), Greater Huntsville Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship, Huntsville’s Southeast Cluster of Pastors and a volunteer and former consultant to the Interfaith Mission Service (IMS).

Our Junior Development tennis and character/sportsmanship program started on the campus of Alabama A&M University (Historically Black College/University – HBCU). In June 1991, we began serving 30 to 35 participants and exceeded 100 by June 1992. Before the start of the 1992-1993 school year, eight of our student/athletes had earned Alabama Tennis Association State Rankings. 

Among these students included Amanda Kennedy who graduated in 2005 from James Mason University majoring in Economics; Keith Rice graduated in 2007 from Alabama A&M University graduated with a BS in Recreational Management; Darren McGlynn in 2011 graduated from The University of Alabama in Huntsville with a BS in Finance followed by his sister Diana McGlynn graduating in 2015 from Washington State University with a BS in Nursing.  

Our most recent high school graduate is Hannah E. Eady.  Hannah graduated in May 2020 from James Clemens High School in Madison, AL.  She graduated in the Top 10% of her class and will be attending Auburn University.  Hannah is a 2020 Sim Finklea Memorial Scholarship Candidate.  Hannah has donated time with our elementary and middle school student/athletes encouraging by her example. 

YDA also takes great pride in Alabama A&M University (AAMU) graduates, Willis Mband and Desmond McLennon.  Both played four years on the Men’s Tennis Team.  Both served as coaches/mentors to our children and youth.  Willis is the current Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach at AAMU and Head Tennis Pro at Dublin Park in Madison, AL.  Willis formerly served as Head Tennis Pro for YDA and The Garrett Tennis Academy.  Desmond is a also our former Head Tennis Pro for YDA & GTA.  Desmond currently serves as a Head Tennis Pro in Atlanta, GA primarily developing junior players.  His Junior Tennis Team (JTT) has won three State Championships.

YDA is currently partnering and supporting Actions Kids Camp headed up by Dr. Janet Mmbaha with Health & Human Performance at AAMU.

YDA is a USTA NET GENERATION Service Provider to Huntsville City Schools. 

YDA was selected in 2018 by the USTAF and Southern Tennis Association (STA) Foundation to be part of a three year initiative entitled “NJTL Blueprint for Success Programs.”  This grant-funded initiative includes three years of executive director and board member training in capacity building and programming.

Founded in 1969 by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell, and Sheridan Snyder, the NJTL is a growing network of tennis providers who share similar values, ideals, and goals that include:

  • reaching out to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play tennis

  • instilling in youngsters the values of leadership and academic excellence

  • giving all kids (regardless of income, race, or gender) the opportunity to fully develop their tennis skills so they can derive a lifetime of enjoyment from the sport   


NJTLs are unique because they offer a variety of on-court programming and educational and life-skill components designed to enhance a player’s overall development. These educational components are diverse in nature, but can vary from mentoring, and drug and alcohol counseling, to computer skills training, health and nutrition, and college preparation. The NJTL is a great way for kids to develop a lifelong commitment to healthy physical activity and community engagement, make friends, and have fun in a team-oriented and safe environment.

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