Waco's Scottish Rite Gives $66,000 To Baylor Literacy Program

June 12, 2007

by Frank Raczkiewicz

A free Baylor University summer literacy program for Central Texas children has received a big financial boost thanks to the Waco Scottish Rite.

Representatives from Waco's Scottish Rite presented a $66,000 check Friday, June 15, to Baylor's Camp Success, marking one of the largest amounts given to the literacy program in a single year. To date, the group has given more than $300,000 to Camp Success, one of many programs offered through Baylor's Language and Literacy Clinic in the department of communication sciences and disorders. The money will pay for supplies, materials and worker salaries.

"The generosity of the Scottish Rite has allowed us to treat more and more children every year and we are very grateful to them," said Dr. Michaela Ritter, associate chair of the department of communication sciences and disorders who directs Camp Success. "We started the camp in 2003 with 24 children and we are now seeing 60 children with many more on a waiting list."

Camp Success is a unique literacy program that bases its approach on new research that targets both written and oral language to help area children overcome their reading difficulties. The four-week program currently enrolls 60 children, with 90 percent of the participants achieving an unprecedented one-to-four-year jump in reading ability.

Ritter said what sets Camp Success apart from other traditional reading and literacy programs is the intensity of the camp. The campers receive about 60 hours of one-on-one therapy in four weeks, which is equivalent to a full year's worth of therapy in some school districts. However, even though the camp is staffed by Baylor faculty and students, it is fully funded through grants. To date, the Waco Scottish Rite has given more than $250,000 to the program.

"Camp Success does an amazing and unparalleled job of helping students achieve the ability to read," said Claude Ervin, Waco Scottish Rite chairman. "Perhaps the most important key to life's success is reading and we are pleased to help the students and be a part of a community, Baylor and Scottish Rite partnership."