The National Youth Sports Program will stretch into its 19th year this summer at West Virginia University .

The NYSP is a summer anchor for disadvantaged youth between the ages of 10 and 16 �€offering up everything from swimming and nutritional snacks to kid-friendly discussions on why SAT scores really do matter.

It runs at WVU from June 22-July 25, said Bruce Wilmoth, a physical education professor who has coordinated the camp since the beginning.

�€?This isn’t just a sports camp,�€? Wilmouth noted. �€?We promote physical fitness and good sportsmanship, but we also talk about study habits and self-esteem, and not falling into the traps of drugs and alcohol.�€?

The NYSP regimen traditionally includes two hours of daily physical activity teamed up with 15 hours’worth of drug and alcohol awareness education and 7 and-a-half hours of academic counseling and health and nutrition counseling.

�€?A lot of our participants might not have the chance to be in such an environment otherwise,�€? he said.

Amanda Ejimofor, whose three children have participated at WVU ’s NYSP gathering for the past few years, agreed.

�€?I looked in on one of the groups and they were designing bridges with Popsicle sticks and rubber bands,�€? she said last year at the wrap of the 2005 camp. �€?They were using real design principles and they were problem-solving. They were actually learning how to think. The NYSP really made the summer for my kids.�€?

Early registration will be Thursday, May 25, and Thursday, June 15, from 7-8:30 p.m.both evenings at the Gold Gate entrance of the WVU Coliseum.

Federal funds for this program were scaled back last year. For more information on ways you or your business can donate to WVU ’s NYSP effort, call 304-293-3295.