August 15, 2006
Tippecanoe County children win with gift to Purdue sports campWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University officials today (Tuesday, Aug. 15) will announce a gift that will benefit hundreds of Tippecanoe County children participating in a College of Liberal Arts summer sports program.
June and John Scheumann, both Lafayette natives, are contributing $250,000 to endow a youth sports fund to benefit Purdue's award-winning National Youth Sports Program, an annual five-week program that promotes sports, healthy lifestyles, learning skills and community service. The fund will be named in honor of the Scheumanns.
"More than a thousand local children have participated in the program since 2002," said John Contreni, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "The June and John Scheumann Youth Sports Fund will help cover program costs so children will have an opportunity to continue learning about sports and how they can incorporate physical activity into their lives. The local school corporations report that these campers also benefit from the writing and computer skills they learn at camp, and we hope that these educational experiences and immersion in campus life will encourage them to build the goal of a college education into their futures. As a first-time visitor to this summer's camp, I was impressed and moved by what I saw."
About 400 children, ages 10-16, participated in this summer's program, which ended July 21. The program targets students who qualify for either free or reduced lunch programs defined by federal guidelines. The students, in teams of about 15, rotate through activity stations that include basketball, tennis, softball, swimming, soccer and volleyball, as well as computer skills training, nutritional information, dangers of substance abuse, community service learning projects and career opportunities.
Nearly two-thirds of the children are from the Lafayette School Corporation. The Scheumanns are graduates and supporters of the Lafayette schools. Lafayette Jefferson High School's football stadium is named for them, and the couple has pledged money to many local scholarship programs.
"As Tippecanoe County natives and longtime advocates of the local school corporations, supporting this program is a great way to reach more local children who will enjoy and benefit from learning about sports," said June, who graduated from Jefferson High School in 1967 and attended Purdue.
John earned a scholarship to play football at Ball State University, and Ball State's new football stadium is named for the Scheumanns.
"Sports not only helped me achieve a college education, but it has also taught me valuable lessons to succeed in the workplace, and sports are also a wonderful way I have bonded with my children and family," said John Scheumann, who graduated from Jefferson High School in 1967 and from Ball State in 1971 with a degree in accounting.
John started in finance with National Homes Corp. and advanced to comptroller in the home construction industry. In 1981 he and a partner bought Deluxe Homes, which they renamed Crossmann Communities. The company, which went public in 1992, provides housing and financing for first-time buyers. It was acquired by Beazer Homes in 2002.
He and his son, Barney, own and operate Lafayette's Tempest Homes LLC, and John owns the Battle Ground Golf Club. The Scheumanns are majority owners of Coyote Crossing Golf course near West Lafayette.
Through his companies, John has been active with Habitat for Humanity in the development of Lafayette's Bristol Park Subdivision and scholarship programs at many central Indiana school corporations.
Federal funding for the 200-plus National Youth Sports Programs was reduced this year, and only 56 programs were selected to continue. Purdue's program was the only program in Indiana to receive that limited funding this summer. The University of Notre Dame also just finished a camp with the help of private funds.
The national program has honored Purdue's camp for its achievements, including being named best new program in 2002 and special recognition for its 2004 and 2005 programs. Tom Templin, professor and former head of health and kinesiology, served as the program's project administrator.
In addition to the daily activity stations, campers have participated in field trips to water parks and zoos, visited with National Football League quarterback Drew Brees, and volunteered at local community outreach programs. Thanks to other private and corporate contributions, the campers also have received free swimsuits and athletic shoes, as well as door prizes, such as bicycles, to reward attendance and participation.
"Two summers ago when new athletic shoes were distributed to all campers, I saw one young boy crying as he tried on his shoes," said William Harper, the program's director and head of the Department of Health and Kinesiology. "I thought the shoes must not fit, so I offered to help. But he did not need help. He said, 'I've always wanted Nike shoes, always, but my family couldn't afford them.'
"This camp is much more than about what the children received. It's an amazing opportunity for the dozens of Purdue staff and students to watch these children grow, learn and take an active interest in their community."
About 60 percent of Purdue's campers return each year, Harper said.
The success of the 37-year-old National Youth Sports Program is often only verified anecdotally, but Purdue is analyzing return campers to see if the program makes a difference in their physical health and school performance, Harper said. The long-term study will compare campers from Lafayette School Corp. with students from the same school who did not attend the program and also will monitor the campers' progress each year.
The Department of Health and Kinesiology is housed in the College of Liberal Arts. There are more than 650 undergraduate and 100 graduate students majoring in the department. Areas of study include health and promotion, athletic training, physical education, health and fitness, movement and sport sciences, and personal fitness training.
With more than 6,100 undergraduate and 1,100 graduate students at Purdue's West Lafayette campus, the College of Liberal Arts is one of Purdue's largest. The college encompasses 10 other academic departments: communication; English; foreign languages and literatures; history; philosophy; political science; psychological sciences; sociology and anthropology; speech, language, and hearing sciences; and visual and performing arts.
The College of Liberal Arts is home to 13 interdisciplinary programs: African-American studies, American studies, Asian studies, classical studies, comparative literature, film studies, Italian studies, Jewish studies, linguistics, medieval studies, philosophy and literature, religious studies, and women's studies.
Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: John Contreni, (765) 494-2604, email@example.com
William Harper, (765) 494-3178, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.comNote to Journalists: Journalists are invited to attend the Chamber Business After Hours at 5 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 15). The event will be in a tent at Discovery Park, which is located at the corner of Intramural and State streets.
A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2006/nysp-lacrosse.jpg
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