We went into overtime with U-TURN Sports Performance Academy this year in an effort to land the best strategic plan possible; it's part of our commitment is to do whatever it takes to deliver the service our clients seek.
The real story here is U-TURN, an organization that combines sports training with community outreach and Christian ministry; the nonprofit was formally established by tennis player Paul Manning in 1996 – four years after he started his informal inner-city youth ministry.
Today, under the leadership of Robert Dortch, U-TURN is going full-bore with exciting plans to extend its community outreach work into a variety of neighborhoods in our community. I met Robert years ago – he was working for the Richmond Region 2007 initiative, and I was at Luck Stone – and he always has ranked high on my list of Richmonders worth knowing.
Robert and his team – including a newly engaged board – have big plans for its 150,000-square-foot facility, which existed in a previous life as Circuit City’s Thalbro store and offices. Part of our work in developing a long-range strategic plan was to align the best aspirations of U-TURN’s staff, board and community of parents and student athletes.
The plan heads to the Board of Directors for approval in April, but the U-TURN team has already started putting many of its key elements into motion. One of the more exciting ideas? U-TURN On-the-Go, which leverages existing relationships to bring sports programming into communities in need. (Two recent initiatives: football in the Calhoun/Gilpin neighborhoods, and volleyball in Louisa County.)