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Fund supports participation in summer 2017 youth activities at KU

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

LAWRENCE – A gift from David and Margaret Shirk will benefit families and children in the Lawrence and Greater Kansas City areas who participate in specific youth activities offered through the Department of Health, Sport & Exercise Sciences at the University of Kansas.

In memory of the late David Shirk, the David and Margaret Shirk Physical Education Programs Fund was established in 2014 to advance the discipline of physical education at KU through programming and initiatives that directly engage school-age children in physical activity.

The fund will cover a significant portion of the registration costs per child to participate in a variety of youth activities offered through the department. Families are able to choose from the following programs during the summer 2017 season:

Hawk Fitness Academy (Lawrence & Overland Park)

In 2016 Hawk Fitness Academy became the department’s newest youth activity, offering children ages 5-10 a fun and safe physical activity program. Compared to traditional exercise programs that focus on preparing children to play a variety of sports, the Hawk Fitness Academy focuses more on building strength and confidence in children while teaching them how to perform exercise skills.

“I started the Hawk Fitness Academy to improve the health of children,” said Trent Herda, associate professor and program director. “It is specifically designed to improve strength, balance and heart health via exercises that can be performed from childhood into adulthood.”

Participants register for a five-week session, and the cost to participate is regularly $225 per child, per session. With the funding available for this program, the reduced rate per registrant is only $50. 

Children’s Swim Program (Lawrence)

Taught by Red Cross water safety instructors, the Children’s Swim Program at KU provides children a fun and safe swimming environment. The program is open to all ability levels for children ages 6 months and older, and it has been serving the greater Lawrence community since 1990.

“The department provides a wonderful opportunity to participate in swim lessons for our faculty and staff members’ children, as well as the community,” said Bernie Kish, program and facilities director at Robinson Center.

Participants register for a 10-lesson session, and the cost to participate is regularly $50 for the first child and then $40 per child in the same family. With the funding available for this program, the reduced rate per registrant is only $25 for the first child, then $20 per child in the same family. 

Sports Skills & Fitness School (Lawrence & Overland Park)

As the department’s longest-running youth activity, the Sports Skills & Fitness School at KU provides children an individualized instructional environment with expert leadership and supervision to develop sports skills and physical fitness.

“We have a lot of pride in the long tradition of our Sports Skills & Fitness School at KU,” said Leon Greene, associate professor and program director. “We want the children to be here in a learning environment where they feel successful.”

The program is open to all ability levels for children ages 5 to 12 years old. Participants register for a two-week session in the month of June, and the cost to participate is regularly $200 per child. With the funding available for this program, the reduced rate per registrant is only $100.  

Additional information on each of the department’s youth activities, including registration, class level descriptions and session schedules, can be found here.

The fund is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

The Department of Health, Sport & Exercise Sciences is housed in the KU School of Education. It is a nationally ranked school, preparing educators and health/sport/exercise professionals as leaders.


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