Spring may have just arrived and summer may be the last thing on a parent’s mind, but camp enrollment time begins next week for Cities In Schools summer day camp program.

To meet the needs of the Ardmore community, Cities In Schools has expanded the camp to reach 352 youths this summer.

“This will be the largest camp ever,” said Sara Kerley, executive director of Cities In Schools. “We have expanded to meet the needs of the community. Last year we had to turn kids away because we were full.”

Camp enrollment will begin at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Cities In Schools office, located in suite 313 inside the Colston Building in downtown Ardmore. At enrollment, parents and guardians will need to complete a packet and pay the $75 camper fee. The camp begins June 2 and continues through July 24. The camp will meet weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church.

The camp, offered by the non-profit dedicated to helping youth achieve in the schools, is more than just field trips to the pool and sports activities. The day camp program offers each camper a chance to improve on their literacy skills and increase their math proficiency.

Kerley says the camp operates as a bridge to the local school districts by providing “high quality” curriculum over the summer to help campers continue to engage in learning.

“Our program is different from the schools in that the reading and math lessons are very hands on,” Kerley said. “You wouldn’t see someone lecturing and textbooks on desk. You hear laughter when you pass the classrooms. You see the kids involved in group work. The kids are having fun, and they like it.”

Beyond having fun, the campers are improving according to campers’ scores on the Rasch UnIT, a measurement scale developed to simplify the interpretation of test scores.

According to RIT scores from campers last summer, each camper in attendance raised their RIT score for reading at an average of 1.82 points and 0.5 points in math.

For many summers, Cities In Schools has offered a summer day camp for children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. While the camp focuses on literacy and math, campers do engage in many more activities throughout the eight weeks, Kerley says.

Campers participate daily in arts and crafts, media, music, computer, physical education and life skills classes. Campers also receive breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack through a partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. On Fridays, campers will go on field trips that can include a visit to the swimming pool, Goodard Center art galleries and more.

New to the day camp program this year is a drama lesson, as part of the new Ardmore Little Theater Education Outreach program. At the end of camp, campers will present a production to family and friends.

Kerley says about 60 to 70 camp spots had already been taken as alumni enrollment opened last week for past campers.

Like in years past, Kerley anticipates much interest in the day camp and encourages parents to enroll children next Tuesday. The goal is for all spots to be taken by the end of the day Tuesday.

In addition to visiting the office on Tuesday to complete enrollment, parents can also call the Cities In Schools office that day and request an enrollment packet be emailed for completion prior to visiting the office. The camper fee can be paid by check or credit card, but a service charge of $2.06 is added to credit card transactions.

Kerley says there is much excitement for the upcoming summer camp from past campers, parents, volunteers and more.

“We know we are doing something right when the kids don’t want to be picked up early,” Kerley says. “A parent will arrive early and the kid will say they want to stay longer.”

To ask questions about the summer day camp, call Cities In School at (580) 223-8762.