WYSP ~ Wisconsin Youth Success Program
WYSP is a free five-week summer program offered to youth ages 10-16 in the Chippewa Valley. Each summer more than 300 children register for WYSP. The program has been offered to the community for more than 30 years as an opportunity for youth to develop leadership, academic, and athletic skills.
In addition to traditional sports such as basketball and softball, participants receive specialized education on topics such as drugs, alcohol, and nutrition. They receive transportation to camp at no charge (if they are in the Eau Claire and Altoona School Districts) and also receive two federally-subsidized meals on site. In addition, each camper may receive a free medical examination and dental cleaning and screening.
One unique feature of WYSP at UW-Eau Claire is the Senior Program, a component designed specifically to meet the changing needs of our thirteen to sixteen year old participants. Senior Program activities offer special opportunities not available to younger participants, including training in the Crest Fitness Center on campus, access to the campus climbing wall, biking, archery, and tours of Sacred Heart Hospital with career presentations and special training.
In 1968, representatives of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports piloted the WYSP concept during the summer at two university athletics facilities. On March 17, 1969, the White House announced that the federal government was committing $3 million to establish a sports program for economically disadvantaged youth, called the National Youth Sports Program.
In 2009 all federal funding for the program was eliminated and since then it has been a group effort to keep the program going. Now known as WYSP – the Wisconsin Youth Success Program, the camp is supported through partnerships, donations, and fundraising efforts.
Partnerships ~ Donations ~ Grants ~ Fundraisers
Partnerships include the Altoona and Eau Claire school districts, UW Department of Family Medicine (free medical exams) and the Chippewa Valley Technical College (free dental screenings). The newest partners of WYSP are Sacred Heart Hospital, Feed My People Food Bank, Buffalo Wild Wings and the Eau Claire Cavaliers. Donations are received from many individuals and business, with the Kristo Family Fund via the Eau Claire Community Foundation being a major contributor. The program receives grants from the Domer Foundation, Anne Marie Foundation, Security Health, Kiwanis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program.
Fundraising efforts generate approximately $35,000 to make camp a possibility. These fundraisers include Let's Do Lunch with Erbert and Gerberts, the Shamrock Shuffle, Friday 5K Fun Run and Halloween Hallow.
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