What is squash?

Founded in England in the 1860′s, squash is an indoor racket sport played by more than 15 million people in 153 countries. Until recently in the United States, squash was played almost exclusively at prep schools, elite colleges, and exclusive clubs. The sport has become more widely played over the past few decades – in part because of urban squash – and its strong ties to top-tier educational institutions are one of the reasons squash is an effective academic after-school program “hook.”

What is urban squash?

Urban squash is a youth development model that combines the sport of squash with academics, mentoring, community service, and college placement for public school elementary through high school students in under-served communities. The year-round, 5-day-a-week programming takes place after school, on the weekends and in the summer. Following an ‘inch wide, mile deep’ approach to youth development, urban squash programs create meaningful and life-long experiences, lessons, and support for each student, from the time they enter the program through their college graduation.

Are programs independent nonprofits, or satellites of NUSEA?

NUSEA is a separate 501(c)3 from our member programs. Our member programs have their own charters, names, boards, missions, and finances. In order to become and remain members of NUSEA, programs have to apply for membership and submit annual reports that meet a strict set of organizational criteria, including: hours of squash and academic programming, financial stability, and scheduled community service activities.

How do children join your member programs?

Typically, our member programs are partnered with one or more public schools from which they recruit students for tryouts. Tryouts last up to 3 months and can consider a variety of criteria, including attitude, work ethic, family involvement, athletic ability, and attendance.

Is it difficult to convince students who aren’t familiar with squash to try out?

Not usually. Students at our partner schools have few extracurricular opportunities. and they are drawn to urban squash for its opportunities to learn a sport, travel, be a part of a team, and progress to higher education.

How does NUSEA start programs?

NUSEA works with local leaders to help launch programs in cities that we believe can sustain and grow strong organizations over time.

Step #1: Partner with an under-utilized squash facility in or near a low-income neighborhood
Step #2: Partner with one or more schools that serve a low-income student population
Step #3: Form a Board of Directors, build a donor-base, and raise a minimum of the first year’s operating budget ($200,00-$300,000).
Step #4: Hire the executive director and up to two other full-time staff

If I am interested in starting an urban squash program, can NUSEA help?

Yes! A central role of NUSEA is to assist those who wish to start new urban squash programs. To learn more about how we can help, contact us at info@squashandeducation.org or 646-218-0456.