FOUR GENERATIONS—The Deere family gathers on OIMC Day in February at OCU. From left are Stephanie LeClair, Victoria LeClair, Josephine Deere, Kristi Hildreth, Kourtney Allen, and Kendell Allen. This was the first time all of them attended the event.
Each year, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Family Day (OIMC Day) is an excellent way for Oklahoma City University and the OIMC members to connect. Families from all over the state come to the campus for a day of fun, basketball games, and learning what the university has to offer. Especially interesting about this day is that often all the generations in a family attend—from babies in strollers to the older adults.
This year, this long-standing event was held on Feb. 23, with more than 250 people in attendance.
OCU student volunteers as well as staff persons from University-Church Relations, Admissions, and Athletics combine to host this occasion.
For the second year, OCU’s overall coordinator was senior Keith Bethell, a religion major and Wesley Center intern. He spoke about the significance and lasting impact of this event.
"One of the reasons I enjoy putting on this event is because OCU is very intentional about reaching out to Native American and other ethnic communities with its Multi-Cultural Student Affairs department," Bethell said. "Showcasing the scholarship and service opportunities provided by the American Indian Scholarship makes the possibility of attending college more real for families that may not be able to afford it. The families get to meet current American Indian Scholars as well as other students from the university."
He continued, "Every year, the Wesley Center puts on this event, and every year people look forward to it. Many were very appreciative of the effort put into the day of family fun. This is one of the many ways that OCU, our very own United Methodist educational institution, continues to show the love of God in service and outreach. I am hopeful that this relationship between the campus and the Conference will continue to strengthen as the years go by!"
The day is filled with activities, beginning in the Freede Center, with three-on-three basketball games and free-throw contests, while other volunteers visit and play games with the children.
After lunch in the OCU cafeteria, participants learn general information about college and, in particular, about opportunities at OCU. The day concludes in the chapel sanctuary, with a worship service led by OIMC youths.
For many years, Josephine Deere (pictured above), OIMC director of Programs and Interpretation, has worked closely with OCU staff in organizing the day. She said, "It was very rewarding to see all who turned out this year. We had numerous first-timers! I overheard a comment from one who happens to be in high school and is starting to look at furthering their education: ‘This seems pretty neat. I think I wouldn’t mind going to school here.’"