A local community outreach program combines physical activity and education while teaching responsible behavior and self esteem and encouraging lifelong friendships. The popular summer program promotes a healthy outlook toward an active lifestyle.
Young campers learn the value and benefits of proper nutrition, good health practices and the importance of having a well balanced lifestyle.Hosted by the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, the program helps kids improve physical fitness through sports. NYSP blends a strong educational focus, including sessions about career guidance, personal safety and community service.
Frances O'Brien, former dean of West Virginia University Libraries, presented books to area children participating in the 2016 session. WVU Libraries donated more than 125 books to help emphasize the importance of reading.
“We thought it was important for the campers to have books of their own that they could read and keep,” O’Brien said. “We hope they take them home to share with their families.”
Campers, ages 10-16, receive free or reduced lunch and transportation. At the orientation, campers can sign up for free physicals.
NYSP Coordinator Mary Wolk credits the various area groups who provide necessary services to help make the camp a success. “The camp combines lunch, transportation and enrichment activities thanks to generous support from the Monongalia County Board of Education, The Book Exchange, WVU Libraries, WVUPolice Department, WVU School of Medicine and others.”
This year campers toured the home of the West Virginia Black Bears at Monongalia County Ballpark. Campers participated in a question and answer sessioin hosted by players and the team’s Assistant General Manager and WVU graduate Jackie Riggleman. Riggleman offered career advice about business related opportunities available in professional sports.
“We rely on contributions from groups and individuals. We couldn’t operate without our sponsors,” explained says Dana Brooks, CPASS dean and NYSP project administrator.
“Through the years NYSP has served thousands of campers. We are now seeing the kids of former campers,” says Brooks. “Kids take a positive message away from the camp and use that message in their own lives,” he added.
The camp is a result of year-round planning. “Every year we see more than 50 percent returning campers and some attend camp three to four years in a row,” said Wolk. “We start getting calls from families in February asking about registration.”