Sports Camp Programs Reach Out to Local Kids
Every year, hundreds of community children come to the USC campus to play football and other sports. They learn about teamwork, health and fitness, gain computer skills and have fun – all through Trojan Kids Camp and Youth Impact.
Trojan Kids Camp, which has been running every summer for 42 years, offers economically disadvantaged youth ages 9-15 a three-week program that promotes a healthy and active lifestyle through recreational and educational activities. Each day, specialists help children as they participate in swimming, dancing, tennis, basketball and football. Campers also get involved in activities such as Lego-building, computer learning and “clean the beach day,” and go on field trips to Santa Monica beach and the Malibu mountains to hike.
“The kids love it so much,” says Arvin Varma, assistant director of Recreational Sports, who directs the program. “Every single one was crying on the last day of camp this summer.”
Youth Impact is a football-oriented program for at-risk boys in the sixth and seventh grades, which was founded four years ago by Riki Ellison, a former USC and NFL player. The free program offers selected boys a daily structure that incorporates character development, mentoring, coaching and teaching.
According to Varma, kids especially enjoy the Smartboard, an interactive whiteboard. “It is hugely successful,” says Varma. “Kids who used to sit now jump to answer questions.” The football-related classroom activities are followed by football practices in the afternoon.
Originally funded through a federal program, Trojan Kids Camp is now partially supported by money from the Good Neighbors Campaign. Children who attend local schools and clubs can receive $100 to help cover the $150 camp cost. Varma continues to write grants to obtain additional funding. The Youth Impact Program is partially funded by Ellison and the NFL.
Trojan Kids Camp, which is staffed by 25 people, many of whom are USC students, served 191 campers this past summer. With a 32-member staff made up of students, coaches and some former USC players, Youth Impact saw 137 boys participate on a daily basis this summer.
For more information, contact Recreational Sports at (213) 740-5127 or Arvin Varma at firstname.lastname@example.org.