Wittenberg University Hosts Successful NYSP Camp for Third Straight Year
July 2, 2003
Wittenberg football and track and field standout Skip Ivery (left, blue shirt) works with NYSP campers.
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - For a third straight year, the Wittenberg University campus was alive with the sounds of hundreds of young people participating in a five-week summer camp as part of the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP).
A grant of more than $105,000 from the NYSP Fund and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) made possible a variety of athletic and educational activities, including swimming, golf, arts and crafts, field trips and life skills, for young people ages 10-16. The camp ran June 9-July 11. The camp’s instructors and organizers included representatives of Wittenberg University’s athletic department and student-athletes from its 23 varsity teams, as well as a few alumni campers from past years.
The grant is administered by the NYSP Fund, which combines funding from the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Wittenberg’s camp, which was introduced in 2001, was modeled after others operated by approximately 200 colleges and universities around the nation. There was no cost to campers to participate daily from 8 a.m. until 1:15 p.m.
A few changes were made to the camp this year to improve the program. “This was by far our best year ever,” said Garnett Purnell, Wittenberg University director of athletics and recreation. “Bringing back alumni campers as counselors this year was a great success. We’ve been able to provide them with a summer job, and they’ve been great role models to the kids since they were once campers themselves. Also the teaching professionals that we’ve brought in this year have been wonderful. They have been able to bring in different and unique skills that we didn’t have in previous years.”
Diversity and Health/Fitness were themes for the program consisting of two parts, athletic and life skills. The health and fitness theme offered potential lifelong benefits though such activities as golf, swimming, tennis, aerobics and track. To come to a better understanding of diversity, groups were formed at the beginning of the camp and assigned a country. Each day the group learned a fact about the country and presented a “creative expression” presentation on their country on the last day to the rest of the people at camp. The Springfield Police Department, Juvenile Court and the Springfield City Schools have also participated in life-skill enrichment activities.
Another new aspect of the camp this year was field trips, including trips to COSI, a Springfield golf course and a bowling alley.
In the annual NYSP evaluation Wittenberg ranked in the 90th percentile for 2003. Because of the past success of the camp, the 2003 enrollment increased by about 100, pushing the total attendance to an all-time high of 318.
Other Ohio educational institutions that host NYSP camps are the University of Akron, University of Toledo, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, Cleveland State University, Kent State University and The Ohio State University.
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