Waco Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation Gives $1.6 Million to Endow Baylor’s Camp Success

June 25, 2018

Endowment ensures continued impact of intense summer language and literacy intervention program for children

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WACO, Texas (June 25, 2018) – Baylor University today announced a $1.6 million gift from the Waco Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation that will create a permanent endowment for Camp Success, a free intensive summer language and literacy intervention program for children through the department of communication sciences and disorders (CSD) in Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

The endowment will ensure the continued impact of Camp Success, providing resources for the program, supporting CSD faculty, staff and students as well as the growth of the department’s nationally ranked graduate program and enhancing community outreach to raise awareness about this valuable resource for Central Texas children. It also will provide resources for the annual end-of-camp ceremony, during which children and their families celebrate their tremendous progress and successful completion of the program.

“Waco Scottish Rite Bodies have long been a source of support for Baylor University and the families in our shared community who rely on the resources available through Camp Success,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “We are truly grateful for Scottish Rite’s decision to create this generous endowment that will ensure the long-term health and trajectory of this life-changing program, both as a resource for the children who are transformed by the literacy and language outreach and for the Baylor graduate and undergraduate students who benefit from the clinical practice setting. We celebrate what this support will mean for generations of Central Texas families.”

“Through the endowment of Camp Success, the Waco Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation desires for all children to be able to read, opening the doors and windows of the world to them; thus allowing them the opportunity to become all they can be,” said Claude Ervin, chairman of the Waco Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation.

"Truly a blessing"

Camp Success was launched in the summer of 2003, made possible by the generous contributions of both time and resources from members of the Waco Scottish Rite. Since then, the four-week summer camp has been offered annually at no cost to participants.

“Waco Scottish Rite has supported Camp Success over the past 15 years, through giving generously of their time and resources to impact the lives of hundreds of children with reading and language disorders. This generous endowment means a permanent continuation of this program. It is truly a blessing to us all. We are thankful to Waco Scottish Rite for this life-changing gift and for the opportunity to continue to serve and transform the lives of children with language and literacy challenges,” said Camp Success director Michaela Ritter, Ed.D., associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and associate dean for undergraduate studies and international experiences in Robbins College.

This year, 48 CSD graduate students work alongside department faculty, with support from Baylor CSD undergraduates, to provide evaluation, therapy and pre/post-testing for children ages 5 to 17 with language and literacy disorders that affect vocabulary, word relationships, sentence structure, sound structure, reading, writing and spelling. Camp Success clients receive approximately 50 hours of one-on-one therapy – equivalent to a full year’s worth of intervention in many school districts. The children represent diverse cultural and economic backgrounds and gain admittance to the program based on their comprehensive language and literacy assessment results.

Transformative program

Due to the demonstrated effectiveness of the program and the increasing number of children with communication disorders, Camp Success has continued to grow at a rapid pace – graduating a program-high 84 children in the summer of 2017. This year, 96 children will participate in Camp Success.

“Camp Success is a ministry to the children and their families, some of whom have struggled with language and reading difficulties for years. This intensive intervention program also transforms the lives of our undergraduate and graduate students as they see growth and success in the children they treat,” Ritter said. “It is exciting to see the children make significant progress and become more confident in such a short period of time and at the same time see the excitement and growth of our undergraduate and graduate students as they experience the positive changes in their clients. The significant progress and success seen in the clients is inspiring to our students to know what can be. Our clients receive approximately 50 hours of therapy in four weeks, so as the brain is changing, that child’s life is changed. It’s a pretty amazing process.”

The Waco Scottish Rite endowment gift follows an anonymous $10 million gift in 2015 that sparked the transformation of the educational experiences of CSD students, including significantly increasing the capacity of the graduate program, expanding service to those with speech-language needs in Texas and positioning the department for national impact as a leader in the field of speech language pathology. In 2016, the CSD department, its areas of speech language pathology, audiology and deaf education and Camp Success moved into new academic and clinical space in the Hankamer Academic Center and Cashion building. The move allowed for a major expansion of the Baylor Speech and Language Clinic, a professional clinical division of the department, which provides more than 10,000 hours of community service each year to children and adults of all ages.

Growing for the future

The new academic and clinical space, combined with the Scottish Rite endowment gift, has further ignited excitement about the future growth and impact of the department’s work and its ability to continue to serve the community in the future.

“Baylor’s Pro Futuris strategic vision, bolstered by our Illuminate academic strategic plan, outlines aspirations addressing such areas as research and academic excellence through transformational education,” said Rodney G. Bowden, Ph.D., dean, professor of health education and The Brown Foundation Endowed Chair. “Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences is working to enhance these and other areas through innovation, creating knowledge and transforming academic disciplines and practice. Waco Scottish Rite will be a strong partner to help us in these efforts. Not only will we be able to help more children and their families, we will be able to translate discoveries we make in Camp Success and disseminate those research findings to help even more children in clinics and schools across the country. We are grateful for the support of Waco Scottish Rite.”

The effective treatment of a communication disorder literally can transform a child’s interaction with the world and set them on a new trajectory in life, Ritter said. Children who graduate from Camp Success often leave feeling empowered, capable and enthusiastic about their futures.

“It’s really exciting to see the change for kids who were reading far below where their peers were reading and to make a great amount of progress,” said Ritter, whose mailbox is often filled with high school and college graduation announcements from former Camp Success students. “It’s wonderful to get the testimonies and the letters from parents stating how much of a difference Camp Success has made. Now with this endowment from Waco Scottish Rite, this impact will live forever.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University was established in 2014, a result of identified priorities for strengthening the health sciences through Baylor’s strategic vision, Pro Futuris, which serves as a compass for the University’s future. The anchor academic units that form the new College – Communication Sciences and Disorders, Family and Consumer Sciences and Health, Human Performance and Recreation – share a common purpose: improving health and the quality of life. The College is working to create curricula that promote a team-based approach to patient care and establish interdisciplinary research collaborations to advance solutions for improving the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. For more information visit www.baylor.edu/chhs.


The Waco Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation (WSRCF) established in 1989, originally known as the Waco Scottish Rite Learning Center and since then has become an energetic and significant contributor to dyslexia and learning disabilities programs. Its flagship program is Camp Success, which is a joint reading and learning activity with the Baylor University department of communication sciences and disorders. The Foundation has directed its efforts towards providing charitable, educational and/or scientific opportunities to individuals, organizations and communities throughout the state and region. The WSRCF is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes in accordance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.