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Thursday, August 18, 2011

BRAVE Club: UNCP hosts youth summer camp

UNC Pembroke’s BRAVE Club, the recently established after-school program for local youths, is continuing its mission to provide recreation, activities and sports instruction to youngsters in the region.

Marian Wooten with Tommy Knight

Marian Wooten with Tommy Knight

Black Line

This summer 41 children participating in a Pembroke Boys and Girls Club summer program are getting the chance to learn how to play several sports from people who really know.

Swimming, tennis, soccer and baseball are in the mix, and UNCP student-athletes helped out, said Dr. Marian Wooten, UNCP’s BRAVE Club co-coordinator and a professor of recreation management.

“At the end of the summer, the student-athletes stepped up to volunteer,” Dr. Wooten said. “The kids really do respond to them, and it helps get them excited about the activities.”

The BRAVE Club began meeting off campus last winter as an after-school program. By August 1, BRAVE Club participants were playing basketball in UNCP’s Auxiliary Gym under the supervision of Jason Smith, a graduate student and former UNCP basketball player.

P.J. Smith, UNCP’s aquatics director and former wrestling coach, co-coordinated the program. He explained the BRAVE Club acronym:

 “It stands for Body mass and Resiliency Achieved through Vigorous Exercise,” he said. “Our research focus is resiliency–that never-give-up attitude, but the primary objective is healthy children and families.

Reggie Jones with Jason Smith

Reggie Jones with Jason Smith

Black Line

“Kids try something once, and if they are not successful, they give up,” Smith said. “We are working to get them through the wall of resistance. We’re also getting them off the couch.”

Jason Smith was working on technique. “Use the backboard and push the ball,” he advised on a lay-up drill. Smith work goes toward his degree in sports science.

Ellen Lowry, unit coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club, said UNCP’s assistance has been critical to the success of the program. “We have limited resources, so the gym and pool are great assets,” she said. “This is a great partnership for us and the kids.”

Dr. Wooten was already planning for the next after-school program. “The kids love the idea of meeting athletes, and I like the idea of them meeting college students and coming to campus,” she said. “Yes, it is hero worship, the best kind.”

“If I had a wish list, I’d bring them to campus watch our athletes compete,” Dr. Wooten said.

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