Posted at 5 p.m. Feb. 6, 2014

College hosts GEAR UP carnival

Christopher Camphouse

Carnival Kids

Calling out news headlines, Christopher Camphouse reads off and headlines created by GEAR UP students at the Wingspan game booth.

Photo by Madi Lacey.

Laramie County Community College’s GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program brought a family game night to campus Jan. 23.

The family night included a college club carnival in which Laramie County Community College clubs manned a booth and set up games for GEAR UP families to play.

GEAR UP is designed to help 2,000 seventh- through 12th-grade students across Wyoming who are income-eligible to receive free or reduced meals and is based on the household size and annual income.

Courtney Wenta, assistant outreach coordinator, said one goal of the carnival was to break the ice with students to see how fun college is, and it isn’t all about the work. “We are very grateful for all the volunteers for taking time and helping our students learn,” she added.

Nicole Sackrider, assistant outreach coordinator, said: “Our goal in GEAR UP is to prepare for college participation in a college environment that helps [pre-college participants] see it is not all about class and shows them how to get involved.”

Wenta called the carnival a complete success, with 78 GEAR UP family members, a matching 78 volunteers and 20 college booths. “I think that it was very successful,” Wenta said. “The students enjoyed it and learned a lot from the experiences.”

GEAR UP also helps young people prepare for college by taking tests, finding careers, and financial aid and helping them “learn about the college experience, going to college, and fostering a college-going attitude,” Wenta said.

Sackrider said by creating a friendly college atmosphere and game nights, GEAR UP has successfully allowed their students to see what a college education may entail. “It allows them to connect to campus,” said Sackrider, smiling.