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National Youth Sports Program celebrates 50 years at UToledo

The National Youth Sports Program at The University of Toledo will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The three-week summer camp, hosted on UToledo’s campus every year since 1969, provides a blend of athletic and educational programming for income-eligible children to help them build social skills, confidence and healthy lifestyles.

About 150 area youth between the ages of 9 and 16 are expected to participate in this year’s program, which takes place weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. beginning Monday, June 3, and running through Friday, June 21.

Registration information is available on the UToledo NYSP website.

“For 50 years, the administration at The University of Toledo has seen the National Youth Sports Program as an asset to the community and to the University. There’s a lot of credit due to a lot of people, and I’m proud we’re able to continue offering this enriching experience,” said Dr. Ruthie Kucharewski, professor and chair in the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, and administrator of the National Youth Sports Program.

A celebration to recognize the 50th university will be held Sunday, June 9, at noon in the Health Education Center Gym.

Students stretched on the track during UToledo’s National Youth Sports Program.

The National Youth Sports Program was established by an act of Congress in 1968. UToledo was one of the first universities in the country to offer the federally funded program the following year.

Though federal funding for the program has since been cut, UToledo continues to operate the camp through fundraising and in-kind donations.

Participants receive instruction in a number of sports and recreational activities, such as soccer, basketball, track, swimming and fishing.

In addition to the athletic and recreation therapy activities, the youth are provided educational and health programs; academic tutoring; information about nutrition and personal hygiene; peer-refusal skills; and alcohol, tobacco and other drug seminars. The camp also schedules field trips and hosts a guest speaker every day at lunch to inspire the children to become the best version of themselves.

“We want to make our community’s youth well-rounded individuals. We’re helping them to grow emotionally, psychologically, physically and socially through a variety of constructive recreational activities and educational experiences,” Kucharewski said. “I think that the experiences the children have at NYSP helps stimulate their imagination about their future, about what they might aspire to be when they grow up.”

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