The students who are selected to participate in the Youth Impact Program are handpicked from schools in educationally underachieving areas around Los Angeles that have previous relationships with USC.
In its second year of existence, the Youth Impact Program activated additional resources from throughout the university with experience developing and implementing community programs.
The committee agreed on the following program objectives:
- To provide an opportunity for youth to learn athletic conditioning and football training skills from talented collegiate coaches and student-athletes through involvement with the NFL Junior Player Development (JPD) Program;
- To engage the academic interest through a football-related curriculum designed to increase positive attitudes towards learning;
- To emphasize higher education’s importance and its attainability;
- To encourage participation in sports, while stressing the importance of teamwork and non-violent conflict resolution;
- To focus on positive elements of sports, such as discipline, confidence, and
- To enable youths to apply character-building lessons gained through athletics to other areas of their lives.
Beyond the typical week’s structure and activities, additional enrichment outings introduced the boys to experiences away from campus. The trips provided opportunities to see and do things unavailable to them within their own communities.
Hermosa Beach in Hermosa, California — USC Trams (through USC Transportation Services) brought boys to the beach after eating lunch at USC. They spent the afternoon swimming and playing in the ocean, searching for seashells, and burying one another up to their necks in the sand. When leaving the beach, a donation of 15 pizzas given from a local pizzeria in Hermosa Beach helped soothe the hunger the boys felt from all the physical activity on the sand and in the water. Many of the boys were sad when the day had finally come to an end, and begged to go back to the beach the following week.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California – This field trip was completely funded by the Reagan Library. This trip was new to YIP and was a first-time adventure to the library for all of the students and many of the staff. A large number of the boys were reluctant to believe that they would enjoy their time at a historical library, but after the trip, many of them expressed the desire to return and to bring their parents with them.
During their visit, the boys took a guided tour through museum exhibits gaining information about President Ronald Reagan’s life and legacy. They were treated to lunch, and each boy has received both an Air Force One cap and a special souvenir photograph of himself taken while boarding the aircraft. It was the kind of trip that more than one boy stated that he “would always remember.”
Throughout the camp, guest speakers were brought in at least twice a week to speak to the boys about their life experiences and how academics played an important part in their lives. Guest speakers often spoke of personal obstacles endured within their professional and/or football careers and the importance of a positive attitude and belief in oneself. The guests included current and retired NFL players, football coaches, a sportswriter, a nutritionist, and a sports agent. All of the guest speakers were either USC alums or staff members.