MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

June 26, 2013

VIDEO: Project Transformation campers visit Muskogee Farmers' Market

By Mike Carrels
Phoenix Online Editor

— Students at Project Transformation spent a morning at the Muskogee Farmers’ Market on Wednesday.

Project Transformation, hosted by St. Paul United Methodist Church, is a day camp that promotes literacy, funded mostly by a $13,500 grant from the City of Muskogee Foundation.

The camp started in 2011.

Children from the camp toured the market, asked farmers questions, and then spent some time fingerpainting.

Sylvia Swan, a volunteer with the Muskogee Farmers’ Market, thought the market and art tied together.

“The colors in all the vegetables and fruits are exciting to the children,” Swan said. “As far as the painting is concerned, I think that it stimulates their creativity.”

Swan spearheaded the effort to have the camp tour the market.

Last year, Project Transformation helped an average of 48 campers each day. Campers receive lessons in math, physical education, science and art. A report stated 97 percent of the campers maintained or improved reading proficiency; 23 percent raised their proficiency by one reading level.

The camp, which started earlier this month, runs through the end of July and is held Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The program provides children a safe, stimulating, summer experience. Mornings consist of 30-minute rotations of reading, computer, recreation and art activities. Students are paired with volunteer reading buddies for one-on-one reading instruction. Also included are two-hour field trip or hands-on activity. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are served each day.

The program is run by volunteers from across the community including various churches, the retired teachers association, and the Muskogee Retired Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP). Ten to 15 community volunteers help with the one-on-one reading instruction in the morning. Seven AmeriCorps interns from across the country lead each activity and serve as reading mentors along with local volunteers.

Swan said the camp will revisit the market by the end of July for a concert featuring local performers.