ARDMORE, OK -- Many of us have fond childhood memories of summer camp, but what's a summer regular for some kids, is a true luxury for others. The “Communities in Schools” program provides a fun, safe and educational option to hundreds of Ardmore children who might otherwise be left out.
Dozens of kids took part in the “CIS Idol” show on Friday afternoon. It's one of the many activities included in the “Communities in Schools” day camp.
"They get up and they provide something new and something entertaining every Friday that they might not get to during the school year and this is their chance to shine,” Tabatha Scasta, the program director explained.
For a small $10 enrollment fee, the camp is open to all children. But for some kids, Scasta says, this all they have.
"There are a lot of problems and a lot of situations out there that children are getting lost or shuffled to the side. This a great place for them to get seen and get some attention,” Scasta said.
More than 250 children participate in the seven-week camp. Some of the camp counselors like, Jaron Godwin, are giving back to the program they grew up in.
"It makes me feel all nice and warm inside, like I'm a little kid again,” Godwin explained.
Godwin participated in CIS Camp from pre-k to 5th grade. Now he's on the other side.
"You see how great these kids are and to actually give them love, it’s great to see all the joy in their eyes,” Godwin said.
Counselors like Godwin provide a lot of needed affection and support, but Scasta says times are tough and some of the children's needs are even more fundamental; this day camp is their only source of good nutrition during the week.
"Until you actually come and are with these kids and experience not even a whole day, but an hour, you just can’t image the need that this community has,” Scasta said.
Scasta says there are more children in need than the program can accommodate. But for at least one more week this summer CIS is making every kid they can, feel like star.
Community in Schools says the economy is having an impact on them as well. Because of lack of funding, the non-profit didn't even know where the camp was going to be held until a week before the program started. CIS says without the free use of the St. Mary Catholic Church their camp might not have happened this year.
To learn more about CIS, check out http://www.cisnet.org/ardmore/ or give them a call at (580) 223-2438.