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Fundraising effort aims to keep WYSP program up and running

RELEASED: Jan. 7, 2011

WYSP logoEAU CLAIRE — Directors of a popular summer youth program offered for 30 years on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus are again undertaking a fundraising effort to keep the program alive.

The Wisconsin Youth Success Program (formerly the National Youth Sports Program and later the Wisconsin Youth Sports Program), is a free five-week summer camp that has served more than 11,400 Chippewa Valley youth over three decades. It must raise about $11,000 by Feb. 15 if it is to operate in summer 2011.

"We are appealing to the many people out there who know what an important program this has been for area children, and we're asking for their support," said Vicki Funne Reed, director of UW-Eau Claire's University Recreation & Sport Facilities.

Each summer WYSP, run by University Recreation & Sport Facilities staff, has provided more than 400 area youth ages 10-16 with opportunities to develop leadership, academic and athletic skills. Each day of camp, participants who live in the Eau Claire and Altoona school districts receive free transportation to and from camp, as well as two federally subsidized meals on site.

"Many of the youth who participate in the program are part of underserved populations that may not otherwise have opportunities to attend programs on campus or have other summer-camp experiences," said Lisa Schuetz, WYSP activity director.

Federal funding for the award-winning program was eliminated in 2007, but UW-Eau Claire continued it. WYSP has since relied on community partnerships and private funding for support. It has had long-standing partnerships with the Eau Claire Area School District and the district's Building Bridges program, as well as the Altoona School District. Other partners have included the UW-Health/Family Medicine Clinic in Eau Claire, which has provided free medical exams to participants; the Chippewa Valley Technical College dental hygiene program, which has offered campers a free dental screening and cleaning; and the Eau Claire YMCA, which has provided campers with free passes for its Graham Avenue facility and the Moore Street skate park.

More information about WYSP and how to make a gift in support of the program is available online or by calling Schuetz at 715-836-2400.

Vicki Funne Reed, director of University Recreation & Sport Facilities, and Lisa Schuetz, WYSP activity director, are available to talk about WYSP and its impact on thousands of Chippewa Valley youth, as well as its funding needs. Contact Reed at 715-836-4931 or reedvf@uwec.edu, or Schuetz at 715-836-2400 or schuetlm@uwec.edu.

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JP/RD

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