Homemade is the best

Roper Swanson, left, and Kenny Skahill sample homemade root beer at one of Teen Round-Up’s camp sessions last summer. The homemade root beer is a tradition at the camp every year.

Special to The Banner
The Duncan Banner

Each summer, hundreds of Oklahoma children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to go to camp are treated to the experience at Teen Round-Up.

This year will mark the 12th year and 70th free summer camp. Camp sessions are held Monday through Wednesday for eight consecutive weeks in June and July for children ages 7-12. The children spend two nights and three days at camp. Each camp will have 120 children and counselors present.

This summer, the camp is of special importance. All children living in a low-income situation or kids living with a single parent, grandparents, etc., are eligible to attend, as are children who have a parent fighting for our country. There is no qualification process.

“With all the layoffs and the economy in disarray, many children will benefit from the free summer camp program this year,” said Kim Kerley, president of Teen Round-Up.

Teen Round-Up was established in 1965 by Bud Kerley as an outreach for children and youth of Stephens County and surrounding towns. In 1998, the late Bud Kerley’s son, Kim, established the free summer camp program along with his wife, Roxanne. Together, they have had the dream to reach as many children as possible who don’t have the advantage of attending a costly summer camp program.

More than 200 volunteer workers will sign up to help with counseling, kitchen help, maintenance and other needed projects. Volunteer workers must pass a background check and have their application signed by their pastor.

At each camp session, there is a full schedule of fun and learning activities. The children will eat seven homecooked meals and many snacks, attend a Bible story class, learn archery skills, feed fish, pan for gold, decorate cookies, have a talent show, make homemade root beer, ride paddle boats, ride a thrill-seeker zip line over the pond and through the fountain, play sports, go on a critter hunt, go on a late night hayride and sing-along, compete in tug o’ war and good deed tickets, and go to a giant birthday party for all campers where every child will receive a party bag and Bible with his or her name imprinted on the cover. Kids are encouraged not to take money to camp.

The annual Teen Round-Up fishing derby, this year to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, is the traditional kickoff for the camp sessions and gives parents an opportunity to view the camp.

Kids ages 5-15 are encouraged to gather around the Teen Round-Up pond with a parent and a pole. All young anglers will use the same worm bait provided, Roxanne Kerley said.

Each year, nearly 100 kids enjoy the fishing derby and a day of family fun. There will be a free hot dog lunch and cold drinks for everyone. Trophies will be given for Largest Fish, first and second place, and Most Fish Caught, first and second place.

There will be a table set up for parents to sign their children up for the free summer camp program, or go to www.teenroundup.com and follow the directions on the site. The free summer camp is sponsored by many business owners and contributors of Teen Round-Up ministries. Anyone who does not have access to a computer may call 580-252-9105 to register a child.

Teen Round-Up is five miles west of U.S. Highway 81 in Duncan on Beech, and one-half mile south on Empire Road.

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