MAILED: Feb. 7, 2001
The National Youth Sports Program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recently received a Meritorious Award, which recognizes the top NYSP programs in the country.
UW-Eau Claire has won the Meritorious Award eight times since 1993. This year, UW-Eau Claire also was one of five schools nominated for the Silvio O. Conte Award of Excellence, which is given to the top program in the nation. UW-Eau Claire won this award in 1991 and 1998.
The first NYSP program was created in 1969 as a free summer camp program that targets economically deprived families. Boys and girls, ages 10 through 16, who meet specific economic criteria are eligible to participate at no cost.
NYSP camps are funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and food costs are funded by the USDA summer food service program.
The program provides many positive experiences for area youth, said Diane Gilbertson, director of University Centers and Programs and activity director for NYSP.
The program helps young people acquire good health practices and become better citizens. It also provides disadvantaged youth with the opportunity to learn sports skills, participate in sports competition and improve physical fitness.
While there are 80 mandatory guidelines that all NYSP programs must meet, UW-Eau Claires program goes well beyond the requirements, said Dr. William Harms, the project administrator for NYSP and UW-Eau Claires associate vice chancellor for student services.
We hire people as staff members who are very qualified teachers and have a strong commitment to the program, Gilbertson said.
The NYSP staff at UW-Eau Claire is composed of college students, community members and members of the athletic department who go through a lengthy screening process before being hired as staff members.
Our staff, coupled with resources provided by the university, makes our program a success, Harms said.
In its 21st year this summer, UW-Eau Claires NYSP again will offer a math and science program in addition to the sports instruction.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Feb. 7, 2001