Photo of high school students arriving on campus and checking in at the dorms for the Badger Boys State camp. UW-Eau Claire hosts multiple sports camps and will be adding the new Scheels Sport For All Camp this summer. (UW-Eau Claire)

UW-Eau Claire hosts multiple sports camps and will be adding the new Scheels Sport For All Camp this summer. (UW-Eau Claire)

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire athletics is partnering with Scheels Sporting Goods to provide opportunities for boys and girls to learn leadership through athletics in a positive multisport camp experience.

The collaboration on the new Scheels Sport For All Camp on campus in July is based on a shared belief by Scheels and UW-Eau Claire that young people should have equal opportunities to learn a variety of sports, regardless of the cost. The goal of the camp, for students entering kindergarten through eighth grade, is to equip campers with the tools to become better athletes and responsible young people. Campers will have the opportunity to explore and nurture their interest in a variety of sports and to learn important leadership skills.

“Scheels is excited to partner with UWEC to provide more opportunities for the youth of our community to become more active and be exposed to the college experience and any opportunities for them in the future,” according to a Scheels spokesperson. “Scheels prides itself on giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and the Sport For All program is a perfect opportunity to do so.”

Scheels and Blugold alumni Paul and Mary Smith, who met at UW-Eau Claire, are the primary sponsors who are financially supporting the camp through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Julia Diggins, Foundation interim president, says it is difficult to overstate the importance of such donations.

“The generosity of Scheels, and Paul and Mary, has allowed us to, once again, create a partnership to serve our local community,” Diggins says. “It’s projects like this that help students in our community not only have access to UWEC’s coaches and facilities, but to also begin to imagine themselves as students at UW-Eau Claire or other campuses.”

The Smiths, longtime UW-Eau Claire Foundation donors, were interested in helping to financially sponsor the camps because their philanthropy has long focused on “giving more opportunities to children who don’t have many opportunities,’’ says Paul Smith, who retired in April as executive vice president and chief operating officer for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Cos. The Smiths helped finance the building of a new YMCA and a Boys & Girls Club in Illinois when they lived there.

“There are too many communities with children who don’t have equal opportunities to succeed,” says Paul Smith, who was a team captain and an All-American swimmer for the Blugolds. “Sports was a big part of my development.”

The camp is hosting sessions from 8 a.m.-noon July 8-11 and July 15-18 at the McPhee Center and Simpson Field on UW-Eau Claire’s upper campus. Coaches and current athletes will be on staff to provide campers with an educational and rewarding sports and leadership experience.

“This is a great opportunity for young people to learn various sports and the skills that go with it,” says Patrick Reilly, Blugold head baseball coach. “It will be a great opportunity for youth to work with college student-athletes, and get them moving and learning during summer when school is not in session.”

See camp and registration information.

Written by UW-Eau Claire

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