First Posted: 5/5/2014
Dallas native Laura Canfield was selected as the 2013 recipient of United States Tennis Association (USTA) Middle States section’s prestigious Mangan Award at the section’s recent board meeting in King of Prussia. Traditionally a surprise to the awardee, Canfield could not attend the awards presentation so the announcement was delayed.
USTA Middle States President Gina Pileggi surprised Canfield by presenting the award at a recent meeting, which Canfield was attending as an officer of the board.
The family of Thomas J. Mangan established the award to recognize individuals who, through their actions and example, have made significant contributions to tennis in the Middle States section andm in doing som demonstrate unselfish devotion and a spirit of cooperation that serves to inspire all.
Canfield has made a career as well as a lifetime passion of tennis. Her 25-plus-year employment by the United States Tennis Association, including a 13-year stint as Executive Director of the Middle States section, has been complemented with volunteerism at the national, sectional and local levels of the game.
A self-described “public-park kid,” Canfield began playing tennis at age 12 when her hometown of Dallas built a public park with two tennis courts a mile from her home. She learned tennis by borrowing instructional books from the public library and using a 50-cent racquet purchased at a neighbor’s garage sale.
“Because of those two public courts, I not only learned to play tennis, but I also was able to make a career of the sport, which opened so many doors and interesting experiences, like conversations with Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton,” said Canfield. “Tennis has provided me with an education, a vocation and an advocation.”
Dearest to Canfield’s heart is the BCTA, which has provided her with a forum to make a difference in her own community. The BCTA partners with more than a dozen parks and recreation agencies, nonprofits and schools to provide affordable, quality and FUN youth and adult tennis programs on under-utilized public-park courts throughout Bucks County.
Registered BCTA participants have grown from 55 in 2005, the first year of BCTA programming, to a little more than 1,800 in 2013, plus another 900 youths who participated in pro-bono BCTA-sponsored physical education programs, play days and community events. And Canfield has been the primary impetus of this amazing growth.
“Laura not only thinks big; she acts big,” says BCTA President Barbara Long, also a native of Dallas. “She is constantly rolling up her sleeves and personally doing what it takes to ensure the success of a BCTA programs and the growth of tennis in Bucks County. Laura certainly meets the criteria of the Mangan Award and then some. Her tennis friends are thrilled for her.”