If you spend much time around Howard Payne University’s summer camp called Young Scholars/Summer Scholars, you’ll have numerous impressions.
Such as, it’s a fun place — fun for the 131 children in grades 1-6 who are participating in the camp that’s under way, fun for the older student assistants and fun for the HPU professors and public school teachers who are teaching the classes.
Such as, it’s a fascinating place as classes include topics in robotics, science, music, 3D printing and physical education.
Such as, it’s a family place: there are many sets of siblings, and at the current camp, there is a set of twins who are students and a set of triplets who are student assistants. Many of the adult leaders currently have or have had their own children in the camp.
Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the HPU communications department, has been the camp’s director for 13 summers. Welker’s son Asa, who is a Hardin Simmons University sophomore, and her daughter Caroline, an Early High School freshman, are former students in the program. Caroline is a student assistant in the current camp.
The triplets are Sofia, Alecs and Brooklyn Butka, who are eighth-graders at Cross Classical Academy. Their younger brother Maddox, a student in the camp, is in the second grade at Cross Classical.
The twins are Avery and Addison Templeton, who are second-grade students at Woodland Heights Elementary School.
Richelle Hair, who teaches in the HPU communications department and is administrative assistant for the camp, exchanged hugs with her nephew, Cayson Hair, a third-grader at Early Elementary School.
Young Scholars is for children in grades 1-3, and Summer Scholars is for grades 4-6. The camp began Monday and ends Friday.
Welker explained the purpose of the camp. “Kids don’t get a lot of chances for educational enrichment in the summer, and we like to provide that opportunity,” Welker said.
The 2019 camp is setting a record for attendance. “It’s the most we’ve ever had and we had to close registration early for the first time ever,” Welker said.