Mulerider Kids and Teens Colleges inspire almost 500 youth

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The third annual Mulerider Kids College (MKC) continued its record-setting growth this year and was followed by a new Mulerider Teen College (MTC) in what was two weeks of learning and fun at Southern Arkansas University.

A total of 417 children from grades 1-6 registered for this year’s Mulerider Kids College camps, with 321 attending the morning MKC camp. The afternoon MKC camp, which was a new addition this year to accommodate the growing community interest, hosted 205 kids. A total of 123 MKC students enrolled in both morning and afternoon classes.

Students experienced a mosaic of class offerings with 39 total classes offered, up from 23 at last year’s MKC. After four full days of classes, children were still beaming with energy and asking of their parents for the same classes next year, possibly with one or two additions or changes. Popular classes included areas of grilling, archery, engineering, agriculture, quilting, crafts and cooking.

Mulerider Teen College was designed to offer junior high students hands-on learning opportunities, leadership exercises, and classes for them to explore future college degree programs. The three-day morning camp, July 5-7, had a total of 75 registrants, with 12 teachers and 12 unique classes.

MKC and MTC organizer Jana Walker said the growth of these great camps would not be possible without the complete support of the Southern Arkansas University family and great sponsors from the community.

“SAU’s Mulerider Kids College and Teen College are so grateful for the support from across our campus and community. The Albemarle Foundation led the charge with a $20,000 grant, adding to what was requested from them so that more scholarships could be offered this year. Magnolia School District, led by Superintendent John Ward, provided scholarships for 110 of their students,” said Walker. “Also, CMC Steel donated $2,000 for bags and supplies, along with 25 cases of water. The Magnolia Junior Charity League gave $500 for supplies. Brookshire’s gave 66 cases of water for the children, and S&S donated around $50 of materials for the archery class’ backstop,” said Walker.

She explained the Magnolia Schools contacted her following the 2016 MKC to find a way to reward as many of their students as possible, with a primary focus on a summer program incentive for students receiving free or reduced lunches.

“They ended up paying for 110 of their students to attend MKC or MTC. They also offered free transportation to the ones that lived in McNeil and Waldo,” said Walker.

An additional 65 general scholarships were granted to MKC and MTC students through the MKC/MTC website.

Dr. Donna Allen, SAU vice president for student affairs, gave credit to Walker and echoed her sentiments for the team effort that made the two special weeks on SAU’s campus possible.

“We toured the Mulerider Kids College with representatives from Albemarle and CMC and witnessed the creativity, ingenuity and enthusiasm of our Kids College students. It was really outstanding and we are proud of all of them,” said Allen.

To see all the photographs from this year’s three camps and to stay up to date on MKC and MTC, see their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MuleriderKidsCollege.

Representatives from CMC Steel present a $2,000 check for Mulerider Kids College and Mulerider Teen College. Pictured, from left, are Jana Walker and Dr. Trey Berry of Southern Arkansas University and Gin Austin and Cole Walker of CMC Steel.

Representatives from the Albemarle Foundation present a check for $20,000 to Southern Arkansas University’s Mulerider Kids College and Mulerider Teen College. Pictured, from left, are MKC/MTC coordinator Jana Walker; Albemarle’s Jake Miller; SAU President Dr. Trey Berry; and Albemarle’s John Sands, Norrissa Sharp, Reggie Curry and Bob Stevens.
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