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Released July 6, 2005


HATTIESBURG – Afternoon thunderstorms, scorching temperatures, relocation-absolutely nothing is hindering the fun of those attending The University of Southern Mississippi's 21st Annual National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) summer camp.

The NYSP program serves economically disadvantaged children between the ages of 10-16 with a free six-week camp that involves numerous physical and educational activities.

Nearly 400 children have signed up for the camp, which began on June 13 and ends July 18.

The camp, once home to the torn-down Southern Miss Sports Arena, is now in full swing at Hawkins Elementary, Dahmer Park and Lake Sehoy. The arena was demolished this past spring to make way for the new Trent Lott Center.

"I like playing softball and doing the fitness games the best," said 11-year-old Anna Poole from Hattiesburg.

Poole has a lot to choose from -- basketball, volleyball, soccer, badminton, tennis, outdoor games, swimming, canoeing and fishing.
In addition, the children are provided with three hours of educational learning per week in the areas of nutrition, math, science, and drug prevention education.

"Although the camp is only six weeks during the summer, there is year-round planning involved with making the camp a success," said NYSP administrator and camp organizer Laura Furko.

"Also, every year we-Southern Miss professor and assistant dean of health on Southern Miss' Gulf Coast campus Dr. Mark Maneval and NYSP activities director Tommy Christian-have to submit a grant proposal to the National Youth Sports Corporation in order to receive funding and continue to be a hosting university."

Furko said NYSP hopes to return to the grounds of Southern Miss, possibly at the Payne Center or on the intramural fields, so camp participants can keep in contact with the university environment.

Southern Miss is one out of more than 200 colleges and universities that hosts the NYSP camp with full funding received from the federal government.

For more information on the camp, please contact Laura Furko at (601) 266-5658


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August 4, 2005 2:44 PM