shorthorn.gif (2557 bytes)

Students find youth camps problematic

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

The UTA Youth Programs are in full swing and about 650 participants are on campus this week. Some university students, however, say that having so many youngsters here at one time detracts from the quality of campus life.

Biology senior Bryan Caletka said he's sure the camps are good for the kids, but that it's not necessarily good for the students who go to school here.

He said the lunch lines are extremely long and sometimes make him late for class.

"I go to lunch on a restricted time table between my classes," he said. "All these kids make it difficult to get to the lunch counter."


He said he tries to sneak in before the kids get there.

Administrators say the kids are here to get to know the university.

Kids, ages 7 to 17, are learning about science, math, psychology, sports and band at the camps. Officials hope the kids will later attend college here because of the experience.

Dan Williams, senior vice president for finance, said the university holds the camps as an outreach program.

"This is not intended to make money as much as it is a public service to provide these kids with exposure to the university," he said.

Dalesia Brown, 16, is a student at Eisenhower High School in Lawton, Okla. Brown said that because she has attended camp here, she will seriously consider the university when she chooses a college.

"We get a four-year renewable scholarship to come here - I think it's a good opportunity," she said. "I think it's a good campus and that you can get a good education here."

Admissions Associate Director George Norton said that usually during the camps, someone from admissions will go out and talk to the kids about the university to generate some interest.

"We usually go on the last day when their parents are around," he said. "Many studies have shown that the No. 1 link for a student attending a college is a visit to the college."

He said that's one reason why they like to play host to the camps here.

"We get a benefit from the camps that the campers will remember their visit here when they make a decision on where to go to college," he said.

Some other university students say the kids in the dorms are unruly as well.

Computer science junior Giancarlos Parodi lives at Lipscomb Hall. He said the kids are noisy.

"Some students wanted to use the lounge to study, and the kids were running around being loud so the students couldn't study," he said.

He said he thought that the kids shouldn't be in the dorms with university students.

Nursing freshman Kristi Thogmartin is a Lipscomb Hall resident and said she's noticed that some of the kids have been noisy.

"They ate all the food in the vending machines and were noisy and rowdy playing video games in the lounge," she said.

Laurelyn Gaede, residence and life operations assistant director, said the campers have counselors who are in charge of the kids.

She said that the kids are in a separate wing from the summer school students, but that they do share common areas.

"If any of the students are bothered, they need to notify their hall director," she said.

Laquita Weston, 17, is a senior from Lakeview High School in Campti, La. She is participating in the federally funded six-week-long Upward Bound Math and Science camp.

The program gives at-risk kids exposure to a college environment so they will possibly want to attend college when they graduate from high school.

Weston said she's benefiting from what she's learning, but the lunch line situation is aggravating.

"Sometimes, if you don't get out of class early enough, you have to wait a long time," she said as she tilted her head toward the line of campers winding from the Paradise Cafe down the hall and past the Bursar's windows in the University Center.