Above, is the homepage for USF Athletics; featured, is an article about the USF Youth Impact Program. http://www.gousfbulls.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=7700&ATCLID=204761177
I am learning a lot about management (particularly the idea of approaching leadership on an individualized basis), about camp/event logistics and coordination between national and local level facilitators. Oh, and how could I forget…I’m learning about dances such as the “krank” and “wu tang” as well as the ‘dopest‘ tracks on the radio, thanks to the boys at camp!
The campers get to learn the importance of being both an athlete and a student. Here they are throwing up the Go Bulls! symbol with George Selvie, first team All-BIG EAST selection, #95 for the USF Bulls.
As if the USF Athletic Department wasn’t in enough of an “up-and-coming” state of mind, with the 2009-2010 school year quickly approaching, they have also instituted the Youth Impact Program on campus. An exclusive program, USF is just one of four college campuses in the United States partaking in the program. The other three universities running the Youth Impact Program are: University of Southern California, Tulane University, and Rice University.
J.R. Haworth, Football Director at USF mentioned that, “this is the first year, so we’re just kind of cutting our teeth into the program and we’re excited about the young men we’ve brought in. They’ve actually turned out to be some very good, quality men and they’re very open to taking on the message that we’re trying to deliver to them. I love the program because we hook them with the football, obviously; but truthfully, the program is based on learning educational skills and life skills and those are the things they can take on with them for the rest of their lives.”
Kris Stubbs, a USF Athletic Department staff member and former Duke University cornerback, said that this is the type of program that should be blooming in as many college towns as possible. Stubbs put it simply: “Programs such as these can really help out a lot of students and kids.”
Being from Duke University, Stubbs also mentioned thatthis program could help out kids from places such as Durham, North Carolina, which he said is a “high risk” area for young kids to find trouble.
Former USF and NFL lineman, Frank Davis, mentioned that this was not the type of program he had access to growing up in Panama. “I was talking to people back in Panama about this camp that I’m working at and I want to do something like this in Panama. It would be great because the kids want to participate.”
Battcher, the Curriculum Coordinator for the Youth Impact Program, pointed out that the camp is definitely more than just a stereotypical summer football camp. “It’s a very well-rounded program. It’s academics and it’s football. [For] the kids … it’s a really great opportunity because it’s all paid for for them. It’s really fun, I’ve seen a lot of smiles so I’m feeling good about it.” She continues: “Essentially what we’re doing is taking middle school boys and we’re saying, ‘Look, someone cares about you, someone wants to see you succeed.'”
Miller, one of the founders of the Youth Impact Program on the USF Campus, had a number of great things to say about not only the camp, but the people involved with it on a regular basis. “The program we put together [consists of] a great group of student athletes and a great group of mentors from area schools. To work with these young boys is rewarding for everyone involved. I was out there yesterday watching George Selvie getting really intense and fired up with these little kids and you could see how meaningful it was for them.”
Miller finds great inspiration in his “seeing students like Jordan McGillis teaching Math to all of these kids and seeing Stephanie Augustavo helping lead a session about English.” “Working with the team of people we have in place … it’s gotten to that level, where it’s only been a week, two weeks now, but we’ve sort of become a family,” Miller explains. “Everybody has [taken] pride [in] what we’re doing.”
When asked about the reaction of the Youth Impact Program’s participants to the experience, Miller mentioned he felt they were really starting to feel comfortable on campus at USF. “This is their place. They come in and they’re using the same facilities as George Selvie and our soccer program and baseball program, they’re around with everyone else, so it’s really cool to see their reactions. I think you see that sense of pride in them that they are part of something really special.” Miller also added, “They are getting exposed to a college campus, which is phenomenal. They’re getting exposed to some classroom learning opportunities in Math and English and then we’re teaching them about life skills and finally football. Very few things are ‘win, win, win, win,’ but this is certainly one [where] there’s no loser in this.”
Such statements led to questions for Miller about the follow-up of a program like this; after all, it is hard to imagine that a program of this magnitude is something that its participants or leaders want to see go by the wayside once the kids leave campus. Miller reinforced such sentiment, noting, “I don’t want this to just be a flash in the pan,”. I want this to be a longstanding relationship…for this to be impactful, there has to be regular contact.”
Under the leadership of Battcher and Miller, things are definitely looking up for the participants of the USF Youth Impact Program. These two, as well as their entire staff, are working very hard to make sure each participant gets the most they can out of this chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity at the University of South Florida.