||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
NYSP Camp Kicks Off|
June 9 at UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: June 7, 1999|
Giving children the opportunity to learn in a classroom environment and participate in various sports activities this summer, the National Youth Sports Program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is gearing up for its 19th year in the Chippewa Valley.
Athletics, math, science and recreation are the focus of the program, which will serve about 500 youngsters ages 10-16 starting June 9 at no cost. The federally funded program continues through July 14.
The sports component of the program emphasizes instruction, competition, physical fitness and lifetime sports, while the educational program is structured like a classroom environment and deals with alcohol and drug issues, nutrition, higher education, career choices and math and science.
"We want to provide a positive experience for the participants and the staff," said Diane Gilbertson, director of University Centers and Programs at UW-Eau Claire and activity director for NYSP. "The kids are exposed to and learn new skills in the classroom and on the field. It's a great opportunity for them."
Participants also meet new friends and form strong relationships.
"I refer to this program as a melting pot," Gilbertson said. "We have kids from all over the area meet people they normally wouldn't."
The daily routine during the five-week program is similar to a regular school day with a bus pick up and drop off, different periods and meals. The participants also receive one-on-one instruction and participate in group activities along the way, she said.
Now in its 19th year, UW-Eau Claire's NYSP program is nationally recognized for the opportunities it provides to area children. Since 1988, it has been acknowledged seven times as one of the top five programs among the 182 administered nationwide for disadvantaged youth by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
In 1991 and again last year, the university's program was judged the top program in the country and awarded the Silvio O. Conte Award for Excellence.
"We are proud of the program," Gilbertson said. "But we are most proud of the kids. They make it what it is."
Gilbertson also credits the program's strength to a staff that returns year after year because they love the program.
Staff members include Longfellow Elementary School teacher Brad Chapman, a five-year veteran who will serve as this year's Liaison Officer; Jim Britton, a Chippewa Falls public school teacher who is again the drug and alcohol specialist; UW-Eau Claire graduate Paul Janson who is the math and science coordinator; Karen Maddox, a member of UW-Eau Claire's nursing faculty who is returning as the medical coordinator; and Kristen Peterson, a UW-Eau Claire graduate who will serve as educational specialist for the program.
This year's professional staff includes Leslie Parker, math and science; Bob Johnson, basketball; Mike Toland, tennis; Jeff Lutz, track, field and football; Lisa McIntyre, gymnastics and fitness; Michael Hudson, softball; Tom Prior, swimming; and Troy White, soccer. Thirty-three university student counselors, including six former NYSP participants, will assist staff professionals with the daily activities that include mandatory swimming lessons and other sports.
The program is funded by a $85,750 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the NCAA. Funding also comes from the Department of Agriculture through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which provides an additional $40,000 for food services.
The funding ensures that each participant receives free sports instruction and educational classes along with transportation, breakfast and lunch, a physical examination and a 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. 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 NYSP, call University Recreation at (715) 836-3377.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: June 10, 1999