It’s summer, but Yukon schools open for campers

YPS Community Engagement keeping kids occupied

During carnival day at YPS Community Engagement Summer Camp, newfound friends (from left) Emily Taylor, Riley Tate, and Ember Everett are all smiles as they show-off their balloon animals made by beloved high school teacher Darryl Andrews. (Photo courtesy)

By Cara Pattison
Contributing Writer

Even though school’s out for the summer, kids and parents are banging on the Yukon High School doors to keep kids coming for Yukon Public Schools’ annual Community Engagement Summer Camp.

Now with over 40 years of camp stories under their belt, the program is a long-standing and highly regarded Yukon tradition.

“Our children’s program coordinator, Aimee McElhaney, was a camper here when it was began over 40 years ago under the direction of the first Community Engagement director, Wanice Gibson,” YPS Community Engagement Director D’Lynne McDaniel said.

“It’s been fun to see the program grow over the past 10 years that I’ve been here, to see what it is today.”

YPS Community Engagement offers this camp to help parents have a safe and fun place for their children during the summer months. McDaniel said her team begins fielding calls regarding camp attendance months ahead of time.

“Families start calling in January to get on the waitlist for summer camp!” she said. “Our staff does a fantastic job of trying to accommodate all families that want to take advantage of our camp.

“In the past 13 years, our attendance has grown from 80 children to over 220 attending camp.”

The YPS Community Engagement Department offers the fun camp for children going into kindergarten all the way through eighth grade.

The camp consists of four mini-camps divided by grade level – Millers at Camp (MAC) 1-3 and Camp Next.

MAC-1 is for kindergarteners and first graders, MAC-2 is for second and third graders, MAC-3 is for fourth and fifth graders, and Camp Next is for sixth, seventh and eighth graders

“We are located at the Yukon High School and are fortunate to be able to use all the facilities it has to offer, such as the gym, track and classrooms,” McDaniel said.

Campers spend the months of June and July engaged in fun-filled themed days, such as carnival day, kickball tournaments and glow stick parties.

They also attend off-site activities, like swimming, bowling, skating, visiting area parks, and field trips to the OKC Zoo and Science Museum Oklahoma.

Older campers deliver food for Yukon Mobile Meals and hop on the bus to destinations like White Water and Frontier City.

Happy campers Colbie McDaniel (left) and Sydney Hunter take a break after tirelessly climbing to the top of the playground toy at Independence Intermediate School. (Photo courtesy)
YPS Community Engagement summer campers Maddie Risinger (left) and Hudson Beedle take advantage of an astronaut photo opportunity at Science Museum Oklahoma during a field trip. (Photo courtesy)


McDaniel believes her staff is a big factor in keeping the YPS summer camp a success.

“I am blessed to have an amazing office staff in office manager Morissa Vanhoutan and children’s program coordinator Aimee McElhaney,” she said. “Morissa takes care of all the billing and buying of supplies. Aimee hires and trains the staff of 25 supervisors and aides, as well as plans the nine weeks of field trips.

“Our camp supervisors and aides consist of teachers, paraprofessional staff, and Millers Afterschool staff from the Yukon school district. We even have some former campers and Yukon alumni that have come back to work at camp.”

The YPS Community Engagement office also is getting ready for Millers After School at Yukon’s elementary and intermediate schools, Reality Check for high school students, driver’s education, and karate during the 2023-24 school year.

During a summer camp outing, Luke Mayo’s big smile shows his satisfaction from landing a bullseye at Archery Traditions. (Photo courtesy)
Camp Next attendees Kylie Bergman and Payton Wright give back to the community by delivering a meal to a Yukon Mobile Meals recipient’s front door. (Photo courtesy)
After stuffing himself on a delicious lunch of pizza and desserts, Brixton Wedding has a blast riding a motorcycle simulator at Incredible Pizza during summer camp. (Photo courtesy)