MAILED: May 30, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE -- As the school year draws to an end, area youngsters in the National Youth Sports Program will get their summer off to the right start when the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's award-winning sports program gets underway.
Athletics, math, science and just plain fun are the focus of the program, which this year is built around the theme "The Right Start," said Diane Gilbertson, director of Activities, Programs and Recreation at UW-Eau Claire and director for NYSP.
About 500 youngsters ages 10-16 are expected to begin this year's NYSP program Wednesday, June 11. The program, which continues through July 16, features a math-science component along with structured sports activities and other educational programs, said William Harms, executive director of Student Support Services and administrator of the federally-funded program.
Harms said the sports program emphasizes instruction, competition, physical fitness and lifetime sports. The educational component is much like a classroom situation and deals with alcohol and drugs, nutrition, higher education, career choices and math and science.
"One objective of the program is to bring kids to a college campus and expose them to that environment in the hope that they'll return someday," Gilbertson said.
Now in its 17th year, UW-Eau Claire's NYSP program has proven it can meet and exceed its goals. Since 1988, it has been recognized five times as one of the top five programs among the 172 administered nationwide for disadvantaged youth by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. In 1991, the UW-Eau Claire program was judged the top program in the country and awarded the Silvio O. Conte Award for Excellence.
Gilbertson credits the program's strength to a staff who return year after year because they love the program. For example, Longfellow Elementary School teacher Brad Chapman, a three-year veteran, will serve as this year's Liaison Officer. Jim Britton, a Chippewa Falls public school teacher, is again the drug and alcohol specialist. UW-Eau Claire graduate Kim Lauterbach is the math and science coordinator. Karen Maddox, a member of UW-Eau Claire's nursing faculty, is returning as the medical coordinator, and Linda Nanstadt, a UW-Eau Claire graduate who teaches in Altoona, will serve as educational specialist for the program.
This year's professional staff includes Marsha Bean-Anderson, math and science; Amy Fawcett, team sports; Bob Johnson, softball and basketball; Michelle Lewis, tennis; Jeff Lutz, track, field and football; Lisa McIntyre, gymnastics and fitness; Tom Prior, swimming; Andrea Smith, math and science; and Troy White, soccer. Twenty-seven university student counselors, including six former NYSP participants, will assist staff professionals with the daily activities that include mandatory swimming lessons and other sports.
This year's program is funded by a $87,561 grant, presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the NCAA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides an additional $40,000 for food services.
The funding ensures that each boy and girl will receive at no cost sports instruction and educational classes along with transportation, breakfast and lunch, Harms said. Each participant also receives a free physical examination and T-shirt.
The program is offered Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants are bused from their neighborhoods to the Hilltop Recreation Center on upper campus where they eat breakfast before participating in each day's scheduled activities at various campus recreation facilities. They eat lunch before returning home. The program also includes a family picnic and weekly drawings for prizes provided by local merchants.
For more information about the 1997 NYSP, contact University Recreation at (715) 836-3377.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 30, 1997