Upward Bound 2013 Summer Camp

By Danae Moore on 06/27/2013 Upward Bound students and counselors are pictured with donations they gathered to give to victims of the tornado in Moore, Okla. —Photo by Danae MooreUpward Bound students and counselors are pictured with donations they gathered to give to victims of the tornado in Moore, Okla. —Photo by Danae Moore Goodwell, Okla.—While many of the students at OPSU have packed up and headed home for the summer break, high school students involved in OPSU's Upward Bound program have kept the campus hopping with their participation in a five week summer camp.

Upward Bound is a federal program of the Department of Education. OPSU's Upward Bound grant was renewed in September of 2012 thanks to countless hours of hard work on the part of program director, Teri Mora, and will serve a total of 63 students from the schools in Guymon, Hardesty, Hooker, and Texhoma for the next five years. The activities of the program are designed to provide students with the skills and resources to be successful throughout their high school careers as well as prepare them to attend and graduate from college. Students who have completed their eighth grade year of school up to those who have completed their 12th grade of school and are living in economically disadvantaged families and/or families in which neither parent finished a four-year college degree are eligible to apply for acceptance into the Upward Bound Program.

Upward Bound is a year-round program with tutoring being offered during the school year; however, the five week summer camp serves as the biggest part of the program. During this time, students essentially experience college life by taking a variety of classes, living in the dorms during the week, and dining in the school cafeteria. All of the students must take classes from the core requirements including English, math, science, and foreign language and each student is allowed to enroll in three electives. They may choose from many different options such as baking, community service, computer graphics, crafts, leadership, photography, public speaking, physical training, novel, and zumba.

A typical day at camp includes morning and afternoon classes with fitness time allowed in the afternoon at the OPSU Noble Center. Each evening students participate in a specific activity organized by the Upward Bound Staff or campers set up to promote team building and bonding before they have evening free time. After four weeks of classes on the OPSU campus, students will take a one week trip to San Antonio and visit the Alamo, River Walk, Sea World, and some area colleges.

Throughout the camp, a great deal of focus is on community service. Mora selected Lymphoma Awareness for this year's community service platform to support the Upward Bound Program Facilitator, Lori Underwood, who is fighting a battle with Lymphoma. The campers have taken it upon themselves to organize and perform fundraisers such as a garage sale from personal donations to a "bailout" where the students went door to door in Guymon to promote awareness and raise money for Underwood's medical expenses. Students also partnered with Goodwell's Police Department to gather donations for tornado victims in Moore, Okla. Mora commented, "This year's Upward Bound group has truly impressed me with their drive to help others."

This year's camp has a total of 46 students with 34 staying on campus to participate in all camp activities and 12 who are 2013 high school graduates attending classes at OPSU for college credit and commuting to and from Goodwell. Under the direction of Mora, and Saul Jimenez who is serving as the Interim Program Facilitator, there are seven college students serving as RA's (Resident Assistants) and TA's (Teacher's Aide). Each of these college students has been assigned to a "family" of students to eat meals with and help in whatever way they are needed throughout the camp. As a focus for this year's camp, the students are encouraged to "write their own destiny."

First time camper, Magali Castaneda of Hooker, Okla. likes the faculty and what the program is all about as well as meeting new friends. Natasha Colpetzer will be a senior at Hardesty High School and has been attending camp since her freshman year of high school. She said, "I love it; it's like my second home." She said the community service projects are one of her favorite parts of the program and it makes her feel good to take the time to help others.

Combine the class work with the experience from different activities and watch as future leaders develop through the Upward Bound program.

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