National Youth Sports Program

CWRU was one of the first Universities in the country to launch the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) through a government grant launched by the Congressional Black Caucus and Cleveland’s own, Congressman Louis Stokes.

The NYSP, which at one time was housed at over 200 colleges and universities, has been in existence since 1970. Widely viewed as a model among its peers around the country, the CWRU program has provided thousands of local children with enriching summer experiences.

Three NYSP students sitting together at lunch

National funding allocations and federal budget support was eliminated in 2006. Understanding its critical importance to the community, CWRU has maintained its program with philanthropic and public support, as well as through nominal fees for service. 


Goals  Objectives
  • Identify health conditions                            and coordinate follow-up care;

  • Serve an anticipated 520 registrants, ages 10 through 16, from the Greater Cleveland community;

  • Help youth develop dietary and exercise practices that promote overall health and wellness;

  • Offer a light breakfast and full lunch daily to every student enrolled in the program;

  • Expand sports skills opportunities for youth from low-income families to improve physical fitness,expose them to swimming and other sports, and promote and active lifestyle;

  • Provide medical physicals and, when appropriate, referrals, to every enrolled child;

  • Expose students to career and educational opportunities on a college campus while utilizing Case Western Reserve personnel and facilities;

  • Facilitate at least 72 hours of physical activities over the duration of the five-week program; and

  • Create opportunities for the students to practice leadership, teamwork, and communication skills;

  • Provide at least of 23 total hours of educational programming.

  • Foster a sense of civic awareness and responsibility and promote positive social development;

  • Provide a safe environment to play, learn, and grow


The National Youth Sports Program at CWRU

The NYSP at CWRU exemplifies the university’s commitment to improving the quality of life for others in our local community. The program provides an enriching five-week summer camp experience that offers sports activities, education, nutrition and health services to more than 500 economically disadvantaged Greater Cleveland youth age 10 to 16. Since its inception, the NYSP has served more than 15,500 local children. The NYSP is unique in that, it combines nutrition and health services with sports activities, life skills development and education – all within a collegiate environment, which provides a unique opportunity for these children to realize their future potential.

Sports Participation

The program uses sports participation and competition as a vehicle to promote active, healthy lifestyles; enhance self-esteem; promote respect for oneself and others; and reinforce the importance of education to one's future. The children are invited to participate in up to 12 different sports, some of which include swimming, basketball, dance, golf and baseball. 

Participation in swimming is mandatory for all campers as it is an important personal safety skill. The NYSP provides a structured environment with established expectations of positive behavior. Campers are offered the opportunity to rotate between sports over the five-weeks to offer them maximum exposure to at least four distinct sports. Special emphasis is placed on teaching skills so that participants may continue the sport beyond their time with NYSP. In addition, all campers receive free physicals and free meals, providing the opportunity to discuss health and wellness directly with these young people.

Educational Programming

The NYSP campers also participate in educational programming to enhance academic skills and social awareness. Sessions include personal health, nutrition, drug and alcohol prevention, disease prevention, personal hygiene, grooming, career opportunities, computer skills, math, and science. The math and science component provides exposure to environmental science as well as other math and science disciplines. It incorporates hands-on activities to cultivate positive attitudes toward math and science education and career opportunities.

Mental Health Focus

Many children that participate in NYSP are dealing with a multitude of family and living situations that are not only difficult for children handle, but to understand. We work with our nursing students on developing programming to focus on and enhance the wellbeing of our children through mental health education, awareness, and discussion. This component of our program is essential and continues to develop over time. 


Preparation and planning for the NYSP are very involved throughout the whole year. The core of the NYSP’s student-serving activities occur during the actual five-week summer program, with certain pre- and post-camp planning, training, assessment, and other activities also occurring. Intake and health assessments generally begin a week in advance of the program’s start date.

The NYSP director and development support staff works year-long to maintain and develop partnerships and funding opportunities. Planning for the summer program begins in earnest in early September of each year. At this time, analysis of the program begins with a discussion of the past year’s strengths and weaknesses; changes that should be made for the following year; and new ideas and offerings that would enhance the program. Additionally, the executive team begins preparing the dates for the following year; contacting camp staff members; filing the proper paperwork; and creating program announcements. 


Friends of NYSP standing in group

Thank you to our NYSP Friends!

Budget Narrative

Funds raised for NYSP generally support operating expenses for the program at Case Western Reserve. Programmatic support such as this is particularly critical in light of a dramatic reduction in federal funding beginning in 2006. Since then, the program has been sustained by foundation, corporate, City of Cleveland, and individual donor support, alongside partial USDA support for meals. General operating support is critical in defraying expenses related to core programmatic elements including student meals, NYSP t- shirts for students and staff, and marketing and events, including related parking.

Through this partnership, we understand the desire of use of funds may be to offset some of the program costs for Slavic Village families. Through our experience, we have found some financial responsibility of the family encourages active participation and commitment to attending camp. We are happy to work with Third Federal and Slavic Village Development to determine the best way to allocate these funds, specifically.