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Oklahoma City church's summer camp fulfills fun, financial need

Fairview Baptist Church is offering a summer day camp to help parents who may not be able to send their children to another Oklahoma City program.
by Carla Hinton Modified: July 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm •  Published: July 7, 2012

“I gotta praise! I gotta praise! J-E-S-U-S!

“I said Jesus 'cause he's the best!”

Tuesday, the singsong rhythm of a children's chant caused smiles to appear on volunteers' faces at Fairview Baptist Church, 1700 NE 7.

The campers' enthusiasm is always contagious, said Sheila Williams, camp director.

About 160 children are enrolled in the northeast Oklahoma City church's summer day camp, she said.

The Rev. J.A. Reed, Fairview's senior pastor, said the camp is designed to help strapped parents who can't afford to send their children to other metro-area summer programs. He said another goal of the camp is to offer local children a summer of structured activities so they won't spend long stretches of time home alone.

Reed said the camp for children ages 6 to 17 opened June 18 and runs through Aug. 3. He said the cost of $10 per week per child has helped some parents and grandparents who could not pay for the fees for other summer camps and programs for children. Reed said families with three or more children pay $5 per week per child.

“Our concern was for those parents and grandparents who couldn't afford some of the camps around the city,” Reed said. “They are working and having to leave their children at home unattended.”

Reed said Williams came up with the idea after the church had a successful three-week day camp last summer and a spring break camp earlier this year. He said he and Williams made an appeal to the congregation to host a summer-long camp. Reed said their request for volunteers and startup donations was met with enthusiasm, as church members began to rally behind the idea.

“It's a faith thing,” Reed said.

“I just decided we're going to do this and see what happens.”

Summer of activities

Williams said she and her husband Lafayette have grown children, but they remember having a house full of young people most of the time because neighborhood youths knew there would be something to do at their home. Williams said she and her husband eventually started a youth mime team, Bible study and community service program and the summer camp idea was born out of the family's experiences with young people.

“We saw the need,” she said.

Reed said campers are fed breakfast, lunch and a snack. Tuesday, the campers ate scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and orange juice for breakfast.

The camp also offers a weekly field trip, and so far campers have visited the Myriad Botanical Gardens and will soon make a trek to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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