Summer learning is a major point of emphasis for Tulsa Public Schools. Identifying and providing summer opportunities is essential for student growth during the break.
Project Transformation is a community-based 8-week exploration summer camp. This camp is for inner city kids kindergarten through 4th grade, primarily from McClure and Marshall Elementary schools. The camp is hosted in Tulsa at Southern Hills United Methodist Church.
“Some children need experiences that bring joy into their lives, connect them with caring adults, support their families, and provide full-day programming of longer length and duration than traditional summer school,” says Instructional Leadership Director Kayla Robinson. This is exactly what the Project Transformation program provides.
For the past 12 years, the camp has hosted over 60 campers each summer and employs six college students. The camp staff reside at one location and learn to work together as a team dedicated to youth development. They also work closely with families to help provide them with any resources they may need.
The camp is a unique joint venture program between the federal government (AmeriCorps) and the Oklahoma United Methodist Church. Breakfast and lunch are provided daily by Tulsa Public Schools. The program also has about 200 volunteers participate. Every camper has one-on-one reading sessions with volunteers daily.
McClure teacher Jennifer Butler currently serves as the camp supervisor.
“She does an amazing job of dreaming big, planning, coaching, and motivating,” says Michael Skaistis, the community coordinator for Project Transformation. “The recipe is literacy development, exploration, and fun.”
One of the biggest exploration activities this summer was the rocket launch. The kids really loved it. On the last day of camp this summer, the campers had a really amazing rocket launch. A company in Estes, Colorado provided the campers with 72 rockets
Each camper was given a rocket to decorate and launch. The church's back parking lot was converted into the launching pad. On launch day, students equipped their safety goggles and began the countdown from 10. At zero the launch buttons were pushed, and two rockets would go up at the same time. The impact and amazement were unbelievable.
On launch day, the campers were treated by McDonald's who provided them with Happy Meals. McDonald's has been a partner with Project Transformation for many years. What better way to end a successful summer than with rockets and burgers?
We certainly could not do what we do without the support and cooperation of McClure and Marshall leadership staff - - and the always great, amazing & inspirational Kayla Robinson,” said Michael.
Everyone is looking forward to what next summer will bring. For more information on Project Transformation, please visit the website.