By Jennifer Smith
June 20, 2016
Sleeping in a hammock, nights singing kumbaya by the campfire – it sounds like a welcome break from the hum drum of a hot and sticky Oklahoma summer – until you have to use the restroom, one you have to make yourself!
At Camp NOCLIP, students spend time in the great outdoors, learn how to be a leader and explore the college enrollment process.
Three Northern Oklahoma College students, Sam Alvarado, Nicole Politis and Brittany Dennis are participating in a paid internship and three college credit hours through GEAR UP, a federally funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
“This camp is meant for teenagers to gain practical life skills, prepare them for college and provide them with necessary support. We as interns will undergo training to be able to work with these teens in various scenarios and mentor them. There will also be some awesome activities such as kayaking and a ropes course,” Alvarado said.
These students are the first to run a GEAR UP camp for Oklahoma. GEAR UP encourages students to take advantage of the Oklahoma Promise Scholarship Program, a unique opportunity for eighth, ninth and 10th-grade Oklahoma students that will help pay for their college education if their family’s income is $50,000 or less and they meet certain academic and behavior requirements, according to the website.
For the past two weeks, the interns have been in leadership training preparing for the camp. Northern Oklahoma College’s GEAR UP advisor Jermie Fansler has supervised and encouraged them, even though they sometimes doubted their own ability to coach and lead.
“These interns are going to rock. I know the training they just went through. They created the schedule we will use for the camp, came up with games, and set the structure and sequence of daily activities,” Fansler said. “I’d put them with any group anytime.”
Alvarado, who is the youngest in his family, is nervous about being a leader.
“I’ve never had much experience with kids, especially being authoritative. It will be a challenge, but I’m ready for it,” Alvarado said.
Indoors, the interns will guide the campers through a mock college entrance process. The campers will stay in a dorm on the Northern Oklahoma College campus. They will get an acceptance letter, learn how to apply for financial aid, purchase books, reserve a dorm room and even receive a bill from the bursar’s office.
For more information about internships at NOC, contact Dr. Rae Ann Kruse, dean of academic services at 580.628.6341.