Whiz Kids OKC tutors joined the children they serve on a recent Saturday — but reading was the last thing on their minds.
The tutors and their students came together for Whiz Kids’ annual “Spring Fling” at Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15.
The youths ate lunch then immersed themselves in activities such as fishing, rock climbing, bungee activities, archery, inflatables, boat riding, hiking and a scavenger hunt. Along the way, they stopped to get their faces painted, stock up on a snow cone or two and got closeup views of an Oklahoma City fire truck.
The Rev. Trevor Williams, campus pastor of LifeChurch.tv-Edmond, was one of several area pastors who attended the event.
As he watched children enjoying the various activities, he said the “Spring Fling” was a perfect way to celebrate what he called the largest unified church effort in Oklahoma City.
Through Whiz Kids, a division of City Care ministries, volunteers from suburban churches join with their urban counterparts to tutor and mentor inner-city children at urban churches.
“The churches come together to change our city,” Williams said. “Churches from the inner city to the outer edges of the city get together to teach kids to read. How great is that?”
Bea Jai Webb, Whiz Kids executive director, said most of the 900 children involved in the program attended Saturday’s event. She said the program has numerous volunteers from 68 churches who tutor at 30 church sites in the metro area.
Opportunities to partner with an urban church to help children still abound, she said.
“To continue this work, we just need every level of support,” Webb said.
“We need to be focusing on kingdom work, and this is kingdom work.”
Getting children outdoors
Larry Bross, executive director of City Care, said he’s particularly proud of the things City Care has been able to accomplish at Crystal Lake.
Ever since his nonprofit organization agreed to clean up Crystal Lake about 10 years ago, the 87-acre Oklahoma City public lake has been the site for many youth and family-friendly activities, he said.
Bross said the lake is owned by the city, and the state Wildlife Department keeps it stocked with fish. He said City Care made about $178,000 in improvements for the opportunity to close the lake for events like the Whiz Kids “Spring Fling.” In addition to that annual event, City Care also hosts a family expo at the lake.
And for the past two years, the lake has been used as a location for summer day camps for many Whiz Kids students from across the metro.
“We saw a chance to get these kids out of their neighborhoods and outdoors,” Bross said.
He said between 200 and 300 children are expected to attend the summer camp activities, and community partners and sponsors are still being sought.
How to help
Whiz Kids OKC
•For more information about Whiz Kids OKC, go to www.whizkidsok.org.
•To sponsor a child at summer camp at Crystal Lake, call Greg Webb at 609-2400.