Squash is the hook.
Education is the heart.
The Cincinnati Squash Academy (CSA) is the city’s only urban squash organization that uses the disciplined game of squash to help transform talented students in underserved communities into scholar-athletes, productive citizens, and future leaders with character on the path to and through college. We recruit students at partner schools and provide squash coaching along with academic support & guidance three days per week. The year-round programming is free. Yes, FREE.
WHO DO WE RECRUIT?
To ensure that we're serving those who need our help the most, we target schools that have 70% or more of its students enrolled in (or eligible for) the Federal Free & Reduced-lunch Program. Though we only recruit between grades 4 through 7, our daily programming runs through 12th grade. So that means someone who first joins the program in fourth grade will stick with us all the way through high school.
WHERE ARE WE LOCATED?
Our facility is located in the historic Emanuel Center, uniquely situated across the street from beautiful Washington Park. Though we share a space with other offices, CSA occupies 35% of the building. This includes our own classroom and three squash courts.
WHAT DOES PROGRAMMING LOOK LIKE?
Students come three days per week, directly after school, for one hour of squash training and one hour in the classroom. On the courts, our kids learn how to play & compete like true squash athletes. In the classroom, our students focus on getting their homework done with the help volunteers. In addition, our Academic Director provides enrichment curriculum to ensure that the kids are on the right track for college. Over the summer, we offer a three-week summer camp at our facility and also facilitate additional summer camp opportunities with partner organizations.
THIS IS ALL SUPER COOL, BUT WHAT IN THE WORLD IS SQUASH?
It is a vegetable, yes. In this case, though, we're talking about an indoor racquet sport. Squash first came on the scene around 1830 at the Harrow School in Great Britain. And while the game is gaining steam in the United States, it's truly a global sport.
Fun fact: Over 20 million people play squash in over 188 countries. In Cincinnati, there are eight facilities with squash courts: Cincinnati Squash Academy, Cincinnati Country Club, The Tee Squash Center, University Club, YMCA (OTR), University of Cincinnati, University Club, Lifetime Fitness (Mason), and Cincinnati Sports Club.
ARE THERE MORE URBAN SQUASH PROGRAMS OR JUST CINCY?
We are affiliated with the Squash + Education Alliance, which is based out of New York City. There's a total of 19 urban squash programs located throughout the country and five international affiliates. CSA launched in Fall 2014.
That's our philosophy.
And that's how we ensure we're realizing our mission.
We find kids who are eager to work hard in the classroom and on the squash court. This isn't for everyone. But for those who have a passion for athletics and academics, this is a program that can change one's life.