SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The middle of winter is a nice time to think about summer camp, where memories are made while making new friends and having fun. Garnett Purnell, director of athletics and recreation at Wittenberg University, also thinks summer camp is a time for structured athletic and life skill learning.
That's why the Springfield City School District recognized him for his commitment to the community and for bringing the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) to Springfield and to Wittenberg.
Purnell received praise and a special commendation during a school board meeting in which members lauded his efforts and those of the many volunteers he manages in offering an "engaging and well-attended session for more than 280 middle school youth," reads the award.
The certificate also acknowledges that Purnell coordinates outside resources including the Springfield Police Department, the Springfield City Schools and the National Trail Parks and Recreation District, and he has obtained grant funding of more than $105,000 from the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for a successful five-week program held last summer at no cost to the students involved.
Purnell's work is an admirable example of community service from Wittenberg University, according to the certificate signed by the President of the Springfield Board of Education Christi Lockhart and Superintendent of Schools Scott Spears.
Nonda Harvey of Springfield City Schools said this type of recognition is granted on an as-needed basis as an initiative of the school system to learn and keep focused on learning in the summer. "This program maximizes the opportunities for the youth of our community and deserves special praise."
The NYSP camp will again be held at Wittenberg this summer June 9-July11, taking the first week of July off to observe the Independence Day holiday and resuming the following week. Purnell hopes to add field trips and plans to invite former professional athletes originally from our area to speak to the children about sacrifice, discipline, motivation and how to be a good team member.
"I'm really happy with the way this camp has grown and I'm so impressed with the level of skill our volunteers offer to the kids of our community and with how the kids respond," Purnell said. "It's nice that our program has been recognized by the Springfield City Schools, and it builds confidence in what we're trying to offer to make a positive influence for our youth."
For more information about the NYSP camp, call Wittenberg's department of athletics at (937) 327-6469.
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