NYSP returns to DakotaDome This summer the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) has moved back to the DakotaDome. Last year the program was housed in the middle school while the DakotaDome roof was being repaired.
USD is one of 200 colleges and universities serving over 70,000+ economically disadvantaged children nationwide funded by this federal grant. This year, the NYSP program at the University of South Dakota � which is in its 34th year of operation � will bring in excess of $70,000 in 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."
Campers receive free t-shirts, plus each day they receive prizes, a free snack, free lunch, and awards donated by local businesses plus instruction in lifetime sports. Althought 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 the 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 is proud of its commitment to recruiting and training quality role models, which is one key to the success of the program. For example, this year's staff includes four All-American athletes, college coaches, high school coaches, elementary teachers, college professors, college students majoring in psychology, sports medicine, parks and recreation, physical education and elementary education. (Over 5000 summer jobs were created through NYSP in 2002).
Anyone interested in becoming involved in this program is encouraged to call USD at (605) 677-5937 as community involvement is a vital part of the program's success. Opportunities for involvement range from joining the NYSP Advisory Board to donating time and money to the program.
NYSP relies on the volunteer efforts of a wide coalition of people, organizations, and businesses. For example, this year the program will receive free medical (including dental and eye) exams. These exams will be administered by students completing USD Physician's Assistant program; Gloria Stewart, Marilyn Harms, Wade Nilson, Bob Nelson (Dental Hygiene-USD), and Cindy Johnson (Eye Care, Eye Wear).
Businesses who contribute to the program each year include: Hy-Vee, Polaris, Gateway, Ace Hardware, Choice Pharmacy, Pamida, Erickson's-Freedom Gas, Vermillion Credit Union, Coca-Cola, Culligan's, Pepsi-Cola, Community First Bank, First National Bank, CorTrust Bank and First Dakota National Bank.
Of special note the program is indebted to Wayne Semmler, superintendent of Beresford Schools (and former NYSP activities Director), who has graciously donated a Beresford school bus to help defray costs of transporting campers from the Beresford-Alcester communities.
Despite the substantial campus/community support NYSP is far from reaching its target goals in the areas of staff/camper ratios and facility use. Individuals interested in becoming part of USD's NYSP program may contact Don Peterson at 677-5336.