PALS Camp returns to Purdue to teach life skills in a fun way | TheWorldSeeds News

PALS Camp returns to Purdue to teach life skills in a fun way

Participants in the 2016 Purdue Athletes Life Success program play soccer. This year’s event will be held June 14-July 13, with about 425 kids from Tippecanoe County participating. (Purdue University photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A summer spent playing sports, learning about engineering and computers, and gaining valuable life skills is ahead for several hundred Lafayette-area young people at the annual PALS Camp on the campus of Purdue University.

Now in its 17th year, PALS, which stands for Purdue Athletes Life Success program, runs June 14–July 13. About 425 kids between the ages of 8-14 will take part this year. Campers must be income-qualifying and from Tippecanoe County.

“PALS is a positive youth development program,” said Bill Harper, PALS Camp co-program director. “It is designed to promote increased motivation for physical activity, improve self-esteem, and nurture hope for the future.  It is truly giving local kids a terrific summertime experience with lifetime benefits.”

Judo, soccer, basketball and swimming – always a favorite during hot Indiana summers – are among the daily activities on the schedule, but PALS is more than just a traditional sports camp. Engineering stations, featuring 3D printing and problem solving are on the daily schedule, along with art and dance sessions, and a return visit to the Celery Bog Nature Area north of campus to join faculty and staff from the Purdue Department of Forestry for environmental science activities. 

Ensuring that campers’ minds are sharp and bodies are energized, healthy meals are provided each day, and free dental care will also be offered to campers thanks to a visit by Indiana Dental Outreach Mobile Dentists.

Campers will also learn the ins-and-outs of screen printing during PAL-a-PALooza, presented by Freckles Graphics.

A visit with the Purdue football team is scheduled for June 15 as coach Jeff Brohm, his staff and players will welcome PALS campers for a day on the gridiron, and Boilermaker sprinter Brionna Thomas will share her headline-making story of overcoming homelessness to become an NCAA All-American track athlete.

The core pillars of PALS are respect, responsibility, caring and courage, and each day is dedicated to promoting them through various activities. Of the 56 staff members who helped in 2017, nearly half were former PALS campers. Some acted as team leaders, while others returned in support roles. “The pillars are elements that go beyond the camp situation into real life, and are a vital part of our program,” says co-director Bonnie Blankenship.

PALS receives assistance from Purdue Federal Credit Union, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a Purdue alumnus, as well as several other local business leaders and corporate foundations. The Boilermaker Half-Marathon and 5K, which will be held October 13, also benefits PALS. Since 2012, the event has donated over $12,000 to help the underserved youth of Tippecanoe County through PALS.

PALS is supported by the College of Health and Human Sciences, the Department of Health and Kinesiology, and receives generous space accommodations by the Division of Recreational Sports and Purdue’s Dining and Residence Hall Services.  PALS also partners with local school corporations and agencies: Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and West Lafayette - as well as United Way, Wabash Valley Alliance and Indiana Department of Education. 

Writer: Tim Doty, 765-496-2571, doty2@purdue.edu

Sources: Bonnie Blankenship, 765-494-3188, bblanke@purde.edu

Bill Harper, wharper@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Media are welcome to attend PALS sessions. Please contact Tim Doty doty2@purdue.edu to schedule.