The Center on Academics and Sports houses both the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) and the Cultural, Academic and Athletic Program (CAAP), which are free academic and athletic summer programs that together serve more than 400 10 to 16-year-olds annually from the St. Paul and Minneapolis Public School Districts as well as the East Metro Integration District.
Originally part of a national program, the NYSP at St. Thomas was created in 1991 to serve at-risk youth from Minneapolis andto provide access to higher education. Over the years, it has won awards for its excellence in programming and developed deeply rooted partnerships with local school districts, youth organizations and community leaders. As a result of its reputation, officials created CAAP in 2005 in partnership with the East Metro Integration District and Saint Paul Public Schools to serve even more youth from urban and suburban east metro schools.
The day camps unite youth — at least 90% of whom are under the poverty line — from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Each student receives free daily bus transportation, breakfast and lunch, classroom materials, and athletic equipment to use. Each student also receives up to two hours of academic and two hours of athletic programming.
All of the activities are held on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus, affording students the use of college classrooms and athletic facilities and exposure to the broader campus community. Curriculum and staffing is developed in close partnership and oversight with the St. Paul and Minneapolis School Districts, as well as the East Metro Integration District and St. Thomas to ensure academic standards. The camps are also certified Alternative Learning Centers so that campers can earn academic and athletic credits at their respective schools.