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

“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.”

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