Camp Crimson to have most attendees ever
Camp Crimson, OU’s student orientation program, will have a record number of students attend the camp’s three sessions this July.
The near 1,800 students participating in this year’s camp will shatter the old Camp Crimson attendance record, said Zach Stevens, camp director. As of now, there will be 250 students more for the entire camp compared to 2010, Stevens said.
The camp’s Boomer session will run today through Saturday, the Sooner session is July 21 to 23 and the OKU session is July 28 to 30, Stevens said.
As freshman enrollment has continued to grow, Camp Crimson is getting attendance from close to half the students from each class, Stevens said.
“We would really love to see that number continue to grow because, we feel it’s really a beneficial program,” Stevens said.
Camp Crimson is for transfer students as well, he said.
There are more than 30 transfer students signed up for one of the camp’s sessions, said Matt Nash, Camp Crimson food operation.
It’s nice that more transfer students are starting to come so, they can get to know OU too, Nash said.
Camp Crimson will use a staff of 239 people to help run this year’s camp, Stevens said. About 100 staff members will work at each session of camp; about 25 staff members will work all three sessions, while a new crop of 72 OU students will work with campers at each individual session, Stevens said.
The staff had to change its planning to accommodate the record number of students this year, said Dana Saathoff, Camp Crimson housing operations.
Couch Tower will have floors two through seven reserved for campers and staff, about 300 rooms are reserved for campers in each session, Saathoff said.
The campers are served eight meals during their stay and the camp has had to increase quantities of food and drink to accommodate, Nash said.
“From the time campers get here, we’ll pass out 6,675 drinks just to staff and campers,” Nash said.
Each day, campers will participate in activities to help familiarize the campus, history and traditions, Stevens said.
Camp groups will honor three OU faculty and staff members per session and learn how to become successful students from them, he said.
Allen Hertzke, political science professor; Jill Hughes, College of Engineering executive director of development; and Johnnie-Margaret McConnell, Residence Life associate director, will speak to students this week at the Boomer session, Stevens said.
The staff will lead the participants through activities like a meet and greet barbeque, relay race and pool party, Stevens said.
The most valuable thing for campers is their connections to the staff and one another, he said.
"Those relationships that they form, we want those to continue throughout the year and, we insist on our small group leaders staying in touch with their campers," Stevens said.
Bridgitte Castorino, a Camp Crimson orientation guide, said she enjoys making connections at camp and they are beneficial to freshmen during their first year.
“You can load them up with information but, if they don’t know who to go to when the time comes for them to need to know the information, you really haven’t created anything,” Castorino said. “I think it’s the connections more than the information even that Camp Crimson provides.”
The biggest advantage for kids that come to Camp Crimson is that those students are supported throughout their first year, Stevens said.
“I think it’s a great way to start developing those friendships and relationships that are going to help them succeed,” Stevens said.