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Community Steps Up to Fund 'Kindergarten Camp' for Pre-K Children

When the federal government cuts, non-profits are often affected. But in one local case, locals stepped up to the plate to keep the money flowing for a program that makes sure soon-to-be kindergarteners are ready to start school.
Kindergarten Camp
Kindergarten Camp helps children know what to expect as they enter the school system. /Credit: Will Carter, Community Partnership of the Ozarks

Kindergarten Camp was once paid for by a federal grant, and then a local grant...until the money dried up and it found itself without funding. The one-week camp, provided by Community Partnership of the Ozarks, has children practice skills they'll need for kindergarten, like speaking in class and writing their names. It also lets parents know what to expect of their children as they enter the school system.

Dana Carroll, deputy director of the early childhood division, says the program would not have been possible this year without help from the community and Temple Baptist Church, where the camp takes place.

“We were lucky enough to have two interns from MSU who were interested in helping us provide a camp. And really, those staffing dollars were the biggest expense. Other than that, we’ve had private donations from individuals for just the basic things,” Carroll explains.

Seeing the children grow on a personal level helps make the camp successful, Carroll said.

“We had two children who were at Kindergarten Camp last year as three or four year olds, and now they’re coming back right before they start kindergarten," Carroll says. "And I will tell you that both of the children I’ve seen so far are much better prepared, even in terms of speaking out, being able to say what they think."

Carroll says right now, the program will be funded on a year-by-year basis.

“Every year, you know, we work to piece it together and we’re thinking in a year how we’re going to be able to fund it, but it still serves a need in the community, so as long as it does, I think the community will step up and figure out a way to make it happen," Carroll says.

Kindergarten Camp is being held the rest of this week. You can learn more about the program and Community Partnership at www.commpartnership.org.

For KSMU News, I’m Kaitlyn Schwers.