This summer at SAU has been like no other as new and unique summer camps have created an energy and excitement across campus.
Along with the athletic camps which have always been popular, this year’s lineup has expanded to include the inaugural Mulerider Kids College, the Youth Criminal Justice Academy, Game Development Summer Camp and the Big Bang Engineering Camp.
The announcement of the Mulerider Kids College (MKC) this spring was met with an influx of interest, and it drew more than 150 students from July 6-9. A wide
array of interesting classes was led by 16 teachers, including local school teachers and SAU faculty and staff.
“Kids Can Grill Too” was a sizzling success, and proved to be the biggest hit among the students, who ranged from grades first to sixth. The kids had an amazing time learning to grill different foods each day of the camp. Other hugely successful classes included “Agtivities and Rodeo,” “Planet Pops and Aliens,” “Construction Challenges,” and “Unsolved Mysteries.”
“We had so many great classes, it’s hard to single out the most popular,” said Jana Walker, director of Early Intervention Services at SAU and coordinator of the camp. “I am thrilled with how the first Mulerider Kids College turned out! The kids all had a wonderful time and learned so much. They really enjoyed being on campus and it was refreshing to see them having so much fun.”
This year’s MKC was made possible through a $17,500 grant from Walmart, and corporate representatives visited MKC on the final day of the camp and witnessed the enthusiasm of the participants and what their donation provided for Magnolia and the region.
Walker said planning for next year’s Mulerider Kids College will begin soon. The hope is that area youth will return to SAU’s campus each summer, and that they
will develop a spark for learning outside of the normal classroom.
Earlier in the summer, Louis Roy of the SAU criminal justice program hosted the first Youth Criminal Justice Academy with 27 cadets.
“We had nothing but great reviews from the cadets, instructors and law enforcement partners,” said Roy. “Cadets were exposed to local, county, state and federal law enforcement and got to see how a case goes through the criminal justice system.”
Roy was impressed with the 14 current criminal justice students, who worked the whole week of June 7-13 for no pay. There were also 10 law enforcement agencies who partnered with Roy to make the inaugural camp a huge success. Events at the camp included Arkansas State Crime Lab demonstration, police obstacle course, fingerprinting competition, CSI training, K-9 demo, firearms instruction and scuba diving.
The Game Development Summer Camp and Big Bang Engineering Camp highlighted two of SAU’s new and unique academic degree programs. Each offered
high school students the opportunity to explore interests in these exciting fields with hands-on projects.