McKinley Elementary

McKinley Elementary students christened their new playground equipment on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. The equipment was part of Enid Public Schools bond proposal, which passed last year.

ENID, Okla. — The Coach-a-Kid youth mentorship program is hosting a free reading, phonics and STEM summer camp for children in kindergarten through third grade, and spots are still available.

Coach-a-Kid, established 2015 in partnership with United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma, pairs area schoolchildren with adult volunteer mentors, with the goal of improving confidence, behavior and academic performance.

The five-day summer camp — 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. June 10-14 at McKinley Elementary School — is aimed specifically at younger age groups to instill strong reading and communication skills early, Coach-a-Kid coordinator John Gray said.

Gray wants the experience to be as enjoyable as it is educational.

"I want them to be in a happy, fun environment, where they don't really realize they're learning," he said. "It's only going to be a week, but my hope is to have the kids embracing some phonics concepts, so they can have fun through interactive games, puzzles, and drawing."

Campers will be encouraged to express themselves in front of others, building confidence and comfort in public speaking.

"I want to hear them speak because then I will be able to assess, phonetically, maybe some of the areas they're dealing with," he said. "More importantly, this give them a vehicle to express themselves, and also work on public speaking, without them realizing they're working on public speaking."

The camp is free to attend, and breakfast, lunch and a snack are provided daily at no charge, thanks in large part to sponsorship from NextEra Energy, Gray said.

Local nonprofit Foster Feet is scheduled to visit June 11, and will provide free shoes to kids in need of a new pair, Gray said.

Camp registration forms are available at unitedwayenid.org. The final day to register is Friday.

For more information, contact John Gray at john@unitedway.org, or call the United Way of Enid's offices at (580) 237-0821.

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Willetts is education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. He can be reached at mwilletts@enidnews.com.

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