Lifelong Learning

Learning is a lifelong journey. That’s why we create and maintain partnerships to promote learning throughout all stages of life.

The Camp That Changes Lives

Astronauts and Purdue Alumni Jerry Ross and Eugene Cernan visit the 2015 PALS programThe 14th Purdue Athletes Life Success program will help keep more than 500 area youth, ages 8-14, active, while also teaching them about healthy eating, financial literacy and positive life skills.  The program, which started in 2002, has served more than 3,000 area youth. Campers qualify for the free program based on income guidelines. 

"This program is packed with activities, and no matter the topic, our four character pillars – respect, responsibility, courage and caring – are a part of each lesson," said Bill Harper, PALS co-director and professor of health and kinesiology. "The past nine years, we've tracked how participation in PALS affects these children, and the research shows that campers sees a boost in self-esteem and more interest in physical activity. Also important is that the campers are significantly influenced by their camp counselors."

Each age group is led by team leaders who are current or recent college students, many of these team leaders are Purdue NCAA athletes or are involved in club sports. Many of this year's team leaders are former campers themselves, and 12 recent campers were selected to serve as junior team leaders.

New to the program for 2015 is a pilot program studying how the program can be adapted to an after-school year-round program. That study is led by Renee McKee, program leader for 4-H and youth development in the College of Agriculture. Also collaborating on the project are Frank Snyder, an assistant professor in health and kinesiology, and Meghan McDonough, an associate professor in health and kinesiology.

PALS also partners with the three local school corporations - Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and West Lafayette - as well as Ivy Tech Community College, the Tippecanoe Prosecutor's Office, Juvenile Magistrate Court, Area IV Agency, Indiana Department of Education, Project Safe Neighborhood and Wabash Valley Alliance. 

For more information contact: Dr. Bill Harper, wharper@purdue.edu, Dr. Bonnie Blankenship, bblanke@purdue.edu  or visit PALS Website

Sources:  Reprinted from PurdueToday

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