The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 14, 2013

Girls get to have fun at Camp Tomahawk

By Jessica Salmond, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Going to the pool on the base, eating frozen yogurt at CherryBerry and making new friends: these are just a few of the girls’ favorite things about Camp Tomahawk.

This year marks the 35th year of the summer camp, funded by sponsors through Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce and held at Vance Air Force Base.

The camp is divided: a boy’s week and a girl’s week; each runs from Monday until Friday. This year, there were 12 boys and 14 girls. The camp was made for children who may not be able to go to other camps due to their family’s circumstances.

Campers get to experience many activities on and off the base. For example, they visit Frontier City in Oklahoma City, explore the Alabaster Caverns and fly in planes on base.

“You get to see all the people who go up in airplanes walk around in uniforms,” said Sarina Wilcox, an 11-year-old camper. She said seeing that is one of the most interesting things about camp.

Thursday, the girls had a field day on base. They competed in water relay races, had a water fight and went to the pool. Thursday evening, the girls were treated to a cookout and made s’mores with Mayor Bill Shewey.

Heather Copeland, 11, said her favorite part of camp was getting her nickname, “Heath Bar.” The favorite thing for campers Sarah Fore, 11, and Elicia Porter, 10, was making new friends. Several others said the “cute boys” at Frontier City topped their list.

The nearly 60 volunteer counselors this year are mostly active-duty members on base. Their job is to supervise and help “quell drama,” Capt. Jessica McGlade said, but also to be a positive role model for the campers.

Each year, two volunteers act as the camp coordinators for both weeks. This year’s coordinators were McGlade and Capt. Ryan Ness. McGlade said she wanted to volunteer so she could meet new people on base, because she has only been stationed at Vance since March.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” McGlade said. “They have great personalities.”

One of McGlade’s best memories this year was from the boy’s week. One of the boys was afraid of heights and didn’t want to fly, but she and Ness convinced him to try it. He loved it, she said.

“The best part is getting to see them do a lot of this stuff … seeing them experience things they’ve never done,” Ness said.