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Gamecock Summer Tour Provides Opportunity for Local Youths

by Brad Muller

South Carolina Athletics recently partnered with several local organizations to bring more than four dozen middle school students from underrepresented populations to campus for the second annual Gamecock Summer Tour program.

“The goal of the Summer Tour is to expose students from the community to the University of South Carolina campus and expand their mind to the many educational opportunities available,” said Executive Associate Athletics Director and Chief Diversity Officer Maria Hickman. “This is our second year doing this program. This is the first year that we expanded our community partners to include Columbia Parks and Recreation, R.A.R.E. Leaders from Richland County Sherriff’s Office, SAVVY Skills, LLC, and Urban League.

“It is important for us to partner with community constituents to not only build relationships but provide opportunities for underrepresented students within our community. Having them on campus to see and learn about future possibilities allows them to make dreams become reality.”

The students toured several of South Carolina’s athletics facilities and got a behind the scenes look at what is available for student-athletes. This included all of the football facilities, the Athletic Village and the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center, Stone Stadium, Wheeler Beach, Carolina Indoor Track & Field Complex, and One Wood Farm.

There were also presentations about making career choices, how to prepare for college, history of African-Americans at the University, time management, nutrition and other life skills.

“We were intentional with our programming for the week to include fun, but also educational aspects within athletics and campus partners,” Hickman said. “The students will see athletics venues but also learn about their interests as well as how to be a stronger student and prepare for college.”