A group of 50 students from Denver and Weld County based Boys & Girls Clubs will experience first-hand what it takes to become an Olympic Athlete. Olympic Athletes do not achieve success overnight. They set goals and through years of hard work, perseverance, calculated decision making, and sacrifices, they transform their dreams into reality. Moreover, Olympic Athletes routinely practice the values of teamwork, dedication, friendship and respect – values that all young adults should learn and apply to their everyday lives.
The Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD), a long-time supporter of the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, constructed their Playmakers Program to share the Olympic experience with underserved youth from around the world, with the program being first introduced at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. Thanks in part to the collaborative efforts of the United States Olympic Committee, in 2016 the program will experience a milestone with its first pre-Olympic event designed to expose youth to new levels of inspiration as they interact with athletes who are training for the Rio Summer Olympic Games.
Beginning March 31st, The Boys & Girls Club youth will spend 4 days and 3 nights at the Colorado Springs based Olympic Training Center. The interactive experience will open with a torch lighting ceremony and include athlete presentations, Olympic sporting demonstrations, team building activities and unique sport experiences, educational sessions, and will conclude with a medals ceremony on April 3rd.
Rich Barrows, Director of the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club, expressed the club’s appreciation and described the impact that this type of programming can have on Boys & Girls Club youth. "The opportunity to live, train, and learn new ways to live an active lifestyle at the Olympic Training Center is an experience of a lifetime! The last time some of our teens had this experience they influenced six other Boys & Girls Clubs to add a healthy snack each night, we are open. We now serve over 4,000 youth a healthy snack every night."
The Playmakers Program has a proven track record of inspiring positive lifestyle choices in youth who participate. "We’ve had Playmakers Program alumni come back to us over the years and tell us what a remarkable experience this was for them," said Dr. Steven Ungerleider, Executive Board Member for GSD. "Playmakers youth take home the values of Olympic and Paralympic sport and are able to apply those to everyday life. It has been extremely rewarding to witness the positive impact this has on their future," added GSD Executive Board Member, David Ulich.
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