TAHLEQUAH - Federal cuts to the 2006 budget will make summer seem a bit longer for area parents and children who have participated in the National Youth Sports Program hosted by Northeastern State University. The federal government has eliminated funding for the $20 million NYSP program, which has provided sports, life skills, and educational programming to children of low-income families nationwide since 1969. Though the national NYSP organization is working hard to reinstate the program, Tahlequah has lost the $78,000 program for 2006.
"This is truly a lose-lose situation for all those involved, especially the children," said NSU President Dr. Larry Williams. "For more than three decades, the NYSP program has provided a vital and effective investment in our youth and has made a positive difference in Tahlequah, Cherokee County, and northeastern Oklahoma."
For more than 33 years, the NYSP program in Tahlequah has given local children and teens (10 to 16) the opportunity to better themselves and their community through a wide variety of activities ranging from sports to academics. Serving nearly 300 students each year, the five-week summer program at NSU has provided participants with at least one healthy, USDA-approved meal daily, clothing, required swimming lessons, a math/science discovery program, drug and alcohol education, and a safe, nurturing, and disciplined environment on its Tahlequah campus. Last year, more than 75,000 youth participated in the program, which was hosted at more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide.