Vermillion reaches out to assist NYSP

Vermillion reaches out to assist NYSP Thanks to community leaders in Vermillion, 370 young people between the ages 10 and 16 are participating in the National Youth Sports Program.

When plans to replace the roof on the DakotaDome were announced last year, the fate of the 2001 NYSP program was unclear, but the temporary one-year use of the Vermillion Middle School, facilities at the National Guard armory, city park areas and the city swimming pool were arranged with the help of city and school officials. The late Mayor Bill Radigan, Recreation Director Loren Tolsma and Vermillion School Superintendent Robert Mayer were among those who helped make arrangements.

NYSP is a federally funded summer program involving 200 universities serving 65,000-plus economically disadvantaged children nationwide. The NYSP program at The University of South Dakota is in its 33rd year of operation and this year it will bring in excess of $70,000 in federal grant monies to southeast South Dakota.

The basic philosophy of NYSP is embodied in its creed which is taught to all campers. "I am a good sport at all times and conduct myself with decency and honesty. I do my best to get along with others and have pride in myself. I put forth my best effort in all competition and always compete fairly."

Each day the campers receive a free snack, free lunch, free t-shirts, prizes and awards donated by local businesses, plus instruction in lifetime sports.

Although the NYSP program focuses on keeping the children active and in motion, it is not just about sporting activities. Campers are encouraged to develop their personal and social skills through educational activities. Between the staff and guest speakers, campers are provided with information on alcohol and drug prevention, nutrition/personal health, career opportunities and job responsibilities.

NYSP owes much of its success to volunteer efforts and contributions of people and businesses in the Vermillion area.

This year's staff includes four college coaches, two high school coaches, two elementary teachers, two college professors, school principals, and six USD students majoring in psychology, sports medicine, parks and recreation, physical education and elementary education.

Free medical (including dental and eye) exams were administered by 21 students in USD's physician assistant program, Gloria Stewart, Marilyn Harms, Wade Nilson, Bob Nelson and Cindy Johnson.

Businesses who contributed to this year's NYSP include Hy-Vee, Polaris, Gateway, Ace Hardware, Choice Pharmacy, Pamida, Erickson-Freedom, Vermillion Federal Credit Union, Coca Cola, Culligan's, Pepsi Cola, Community First Bank, First National Bank, CorTrust Bank and First Dakota National Bank. In addition, Pedal Power from the Pen at Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield donated 10 bikes to be given away to NYSP participants.

NYSP started June 6 and runs through July 11.

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