Oregon Youth Visit the Olympic Training Center for an Unforgettable Spring Break

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The Foundation for Global Sports Development’s Playmakers Program provides underserved youth with a chance to experience Olympic and Paralympic values.

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"Our hope is for the members to come back with a new sense of leadership and confidence that they can do anything.” - Aaron Haack, Director of Operations for BGC Emerald Valley

A group of 30 students from Eugene and Portland, Oregon-based Boys & Girls Clubs are preparing for an unforgettable Spring Break Olympic and Paralympic immersion experience. Beginning March 25th, The Boys & Girls Club youth will spend 4 days and 3 nights at the Colorado Springs based Olympic Training Center. The interactive program will open with a torch lighting ceremony and include athlete presentations, Olympic sporting demonstrations, team building activities and unique sport experiences, and educational sessions. The program will conclude with a medal ceremony on March 28th.

The Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD) developed the Playmakers Program to offer underserved youth the opportunity to experience the thrill of the Olympics and Paralympics while also teaching them about the hard work and dedication involved in achieving goals. The Playmakers Program was first introduced at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, and since then youth have traveled to Vancouver and London as part of the program. In 2016 a collaboration between GSD and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) allowed the program to evolve into an annual immersive sport experience, hosted by the USOC’s Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Aaron Haack, Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley, expressed his club’s excitement and what he hopes the youth will take away from the program. “The Playmakers Program is an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity for our members. Not only will our members get a chance to participate with Olympic and Paralympic athletes and see their incredible facilities, but our hope is for the members to come back with a new sense of leadership and confidence that they can do anything.”

The Playmakers Program’s success can be seen in the achievements of the youth who participate. “With each of our Playmakers Programs, we equip youth with the skills and values they need to excel in life. They take these values home with them and begin to make positive change in their own lives. It’s incredibly rewarding to offer this experience to youth,” said Dr. Steven Ungerleider, Executive Board Member for GSD.

David Ulich, also a member of GSD’s Executive Board, added, “We understand that an experience like Playmakers can open a teen’s eyes to what is possible. Many of our participants go on to attend college and display a high level of academic achievement while also making a positive impact in their communities.”

About Global Sports Development
Working closely with international sports federations, generous donors and committed athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development promotes sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world's youth. The Foundation gives special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, including women, minorities and youth in areas where the risk of delinquency is particularly high. Visit http://www.globalsportsdevelopment.org to learn more.

About Boys & Girls Club of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.

About the United States Olympic Committee
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., the United States Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout the U.S. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.

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Melanie Raffle
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