WVa summer youth camp seeks leadership, financial assistance

MORGANTOWN, WV (AP) — A summer youth camp serving low-income families at West Virginia University will not be held next year unless community partners provide leadership and funding, a program official said.

The WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Science operates the National Youth Sports Program. Interim dean Jack Watson told The Dominion Post that the college wants to continue to be a part of the program, but “I think the community needs to step in and help as well.”

“It needs some refreshing. We have struggled.”

Dana Brooks, who was the camp’s administrator and the college’s dean, retired in June after 41 years with the university.

The half-day camp runs for four weeks. Next year’s projected costs are $107,650 that includes the use of a new aquatic center in Morgantown. Without the swimming program, the camp would cost $85,650.

About $36,000 of the camp’s annual costs are covered by federal assistance and community donations.

“It’s worth saving because it’s serving the most underserved individuals in this community in terms of family income,” Watson said. “These are people, the children of parents who are working and they struggle to have enough money to pay for the camp experience — swimming, sports opportunities and other enrichment activities.”

Watson estimated the college has infused $625,000 into the camp since federal support was cut a decade ago.

Last summer the camp included trips to Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, a library visit and lessons on bugs, fire safety and robotics.

A community meeting on the camp is scheduled for Monday. Participating families pay for the camp based on a sliding scale. There were 130 participants last summer, down from 145 in 2018.

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