||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
NYSP In Midst Of Its 19th
Year at UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: June 22, 1999|
The award-winning National Youth Sports Program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is in the midst of its 19th year in the Chippewa Valley, giving children the chance to learn in a classroom setting and participate in sports activities.
Athletics, math, science and recreation are the focuses of the program, which began serving about 500 youngsters ages 10-16 June 9 at no cost. The federally funded program will continue 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. NYSP evaluators carefully judge and rank each of the 182 programs in the country and forward their top choices to the NYSP Executive Committee, which makes the final selection based on the evaluator's input.
"We are No. 1 because we exceed guideline requirements, we hire an extremely qualified staff, we have strong institutional support, we have a quality program and basically we go above and beyond what is required," Gilbertson said. "It is a wonderful feeling to be No. 1 but we are No. 1 because of the effort that everyone puts into the program."
Gilbertson also credits the program's strength to a staff who returns year after year because they love the program.
The program is funded by an $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 sports instruction and educational classes along with transportation, breakfast and lunch, a physical examination and a T-shirt at no cost.
The program is offered Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants are bused from their neighborhoods to Hilltop Center on upper campus where they eat breakfast before participating in each day's scheduled activities. They eat lunch before returning home.
For more information about the 1999 NYSP, contact University Recreation at (715) 836-3377.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: June 22, 1999