Summer STEM Camps FAQs
1. May I sign my student up on the first day of camp?
Register early. Each camp has limited space and most camps fill up very early—many sell out a month or more in advance. If you haven’t pre-registered and to avoid disappointment, we recommend you visit our web site or phone 509-372-7123 to see if there is space available prior to the first day of camp
2. How do I decide what camp is appropriate for my student?
Consider your student’s interests when choosing a camp. All science and engineering camps are designed to be equally appropriate for boys and girls. Our camps are targeted students who are ages 10-14. Camp activities are active and are packed with hands-on experiences; they require reading, comprehension, and math. They are taught in English by certified teachers.
3. What if my student isn’t within the required age range of 10-14?
Our camps are designed to be a safe, comfortable and fun learning experience for all campers. We strive to ensure that students are appropriately challenged and recognize that some students may not have yet reached age 10 but are socially-aware, mature, and educationally-ready for these camps. We will consider a request for a student, under the age of 10, if he or she has a MAP score of >215 in reading and >220 in math during spring term testing. In addition, we require a teacher recommendation to help us better understand if this student would be ready to fully participate in the summer STEM camp experience. Similarly, a student who has just turned 15 may be considered for camp participation based upon our assessment of a teacher recommendation. Ask for a Teacher Recommendation form by contacting the Camp Registrar (509-372-7123) or if you have any questions about grade-level or age registration.
4. What is the difference between full-day and half-day camps?
Each camp is specifically designed for the time frame in which it is offered. Full-day (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) camps typically include 20 plus hands-on activities; Half-day camps typically include 10 learning experiences.
5. Who designs the camp curriculum?
Our goal is to ensure the highest quality learning experiences for our students.
We conducted a national search for curriculum that would be current and engaging, meet national and state standards, and would challenge our students. For the majority of our camps, we selected specific learning experiences from among those offered by a range of nationally-recognized companies, curriculum developed by federally-funded university experts, and activities created by national professional organizations and societies. Two of our camps (Design It! and Unlock the Code behind Gaming) were developed in conjunction with an advisory committee made up of local professionals and technical experts.
6. Who teaches the camps?
Teaching at summer camp is a highly sought after opportunity so we can be very selective in hiring our teachers. We seek teachers who have a passion for teaching hands-on science and who have a track record of success in managing a diverse classroom. One-hundred percent of our teachers have current teaching credentials in the State of Washington. All have passed rigorous background investigations.
7. What is the student to teacher ratio?
There is typically one certified teacher and one camp counselor for every 25-30 campers.
8. How is the camp staff selected?
- Teachers: First, we promote any teaching position openings within public and private schools, colleges and universities in our region. Then, we put our potential teachers through a two-step screening process. Some of our requirements are STEM teaching experience with elementary- or middle-school students, a love of teaching, leadership skills and enthusiasm for hands-on learning. In addition, once individuals are background and reference checked, instructors are required participate in curriculum and safety training.
- Counselors: Our Camp Counselors this year are both experienced in teaching STEM to elementary- and middle- school students. One is a certified teacher and the second has a master’s degree in library science and is completing a masters’ in teaching degree. All counselors have passed a background investigation and are required to participate in curriculum and safety training.
- Volunteers: All potential volunteers must be at least age 16, must complete an application and interview process. Volunteers typically include students from DELTA high school, teacher education students from WSU and Heritage University, industry professionals, and retired technical professionals. Volunteers provide valuable assistance for our camps and are wonderful role models for our campers. Volunteers are always supervised by paid camp staff when with our campers.
9. Do I need to bring anything special on the first day of camp?
You should receive a “parent packet” of information with your registration confirmation that includes:
- Parent Information letter
- Student Information form
If you didn’t receive the above information, you may download it by clicking here. Please return the completed forms at least 1 week prior to the start of camp. We must have one set of signed forms for each student prior to the start of camp. We are unable to permit students to participate in camp if we do not have these completed forms.
10. Are snacks or meals provided?
We do not provide snacks or meals. Students are encouraged to bring a water bottle clearly labeled with their name; water is the only beverage allowed in the classrooms and only in transparent bottles. No food or fluid are allowed in the computer laboratory.
Students may also bring healthy snacks to enjoy during breaks; food is not allowed in the classroom. Students can purchase hot lunches (see below) or bring a lunch marked with the student’s name. Unfortunately, we do not have refrigerated storage for use by students.
You may purchase hot lunches from the Crimson Café this includes choice of entrée, beverage, chips and fresh fruit at $7 per day. For information or to order, contact Angela at 509-371-1220; transactions made with the café and the results thereof are independent of WSU.
There is a 1-hour lunch break for full-day students. However, only a portion of this time is devoted to eating in a supervised room. The remainder of this break will include camp theme-related special activities and guest presentations as well as the t-shirt design experience.
11. What does my student need to bring to camp?
- Bring a backpack or sturdy bag, clear water bottle, hat and sunscreen (all marked with your family name). Only clear water bottles are allowed in the classroom. Other beverages and beverage containers are allowed in lunch bags for drinking during the lunch period.
- Bring a snack (if desired) and lunch for full-day campers if you do not purchase hot lunch. Please do not bring food that requires refrigeration.
- Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes that are appropriate for active and sometimes messy camp activities. Dresses, open-toed sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate for camp participation.
We discourage bringing personal items such as games, toys, or electronics as these can be distracting to other students. Note that we are not responsible for the damage or loss of any personal item.
12. What should my camper wear?
It is important that campers are comfortable so they can concentrate on participating. Many experiments will have wet or messy or active components. We recommend casual clothes such as jeans or shorts. To ensure safety, we require that all campers wear closed toe shoes.
13. Do you provide transportation?
Washington State University Tri-Cities does not provide transportation to or from camp. Parents must provide transportation for their camper.
14. Could my student use public transportation (Benton-Franklin Transit)?
Ben Franklin Transit serves the WSU campus. The transit system allows children, age 6 and older, to ride the bus unaccompanied by an adult. Ben Franklin Transit’s bus operators are trained to assist riders and assure they arrive at their destination.
A covered bus stop is located on Sprot Road adjacent to the WSU campus and Hanford High School. The stop is identified with a blue, gold, and white sign with the Transit logo and indicates Route 26.
From the Knight Street Transit Center in Richland Bus 26 (indicating route 26) services the WSU campus.
For the arrival of the all day and morning session camps, the route 26 bus leaves the Knight Street Transit Center at 8:15 a.m. and arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 8:25 a.m.
For the arrival of the afternoon session camps, the route 26 bus leaves the Knight Street Transit Station at 12:45 p.m. and arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 12:55 p.m.
For the departure of the morning session camps, the route 26 bus arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 12:25 p.m.
For the departure of the all day and afternoon session camps, the route 26 bus arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 4:47 p.m.
The student will be responsible to walk to and from the bus stop to the camp unaccompanied by an adult.
Please check with Benton-Franklin Transit to verify routes and times.
It is the parents’ responsibility to purchase and arrange bus transportation. For information call 509-735-5100 or visit www.bft.org.
If your camper will be using the bus for any transportation to or from camp, you must indicate so on the Student Information form.
15. What do I need to pick-up my student at the end of each camp day?
Please pick up your student promptly at the end of camp each day; no after camp care is provided. For the safety of our campers, we require photo identification from each parent/guardian every day for every camper. While we might know you by name and have seen you a dozen times, please do not be offended when we continue to ask for photo identification. Whomever comes to pick up a camper must be listed on that camper’s Student Information form and must also show photo identification; if he/she is not listed, we will not be able to release the camper to that person’s care.
Campers are released by a staff member only to those persons authorized by the parent/guardian on the Student Information form. Anyone checking out a student from camp must sign out the student and show picture identification each day.
The only exception to this policy occurs when parents/guardians provide written authorization for their student to be released from the above policy because of the student’s use of public transportation; this is provided by theparent/guardian on the Student Information form, page 3. If your student will be using public transportation and will not be picked up from camp, you must provide authorization as noted above.
16. May I stay with my student?
Parents/guardians may walk with their student’s group to the designated classroom on the first day to ensure their student is seated comfortably. Parents/guardians are always welcome to observe their student from outside of the classroom. However, we have found that giving your student enough space to allow them to interact with other students creates a better camp experience. Parents, guardians, family members and friends are welcomed to attend the Big Event on Friday.
17. How do I know what my student is doing at camp?
A daily curriculum sheet is provided to parents/guardians early in the week listing the projects and activities for the week. Parents/guardians, grandparents, siblings, and other friends, are invited to come to “Big Event” on Friday of each camp week to interact with your student with projects and activities he/she has been learning during the week. The time and location of Big Event will be on the curriculum sheet as well as posted on bulletin boards outside of the check-in/out station.
When your student returns home after camp, have him or her explain that day”s concepts to you and to other siblings- that will also reinforce what he/she has learned that day. If you have any question about the schedule, feel free to ask our camp counselors for more information.
18. What is the “Big Event?”
Each camp culminates with a “Big Event” on Friday. We invite the family and friends of our campers to campus to see the action and take pictures of these fun events. Big Events typically last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the size of the group. More information is available on the camp website and is posted outside the camper sign-in desk.
19. Can I attend a rocket launch?
Rocket launch is the Big Event for Ultimate Flight camp. The best way to attend a rocket launch is to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Remember to bring your camera, sunscreen, hat, and a lounge chair. Rocket launch is held on the athletic fields of Hanford High School. Take George Washington Way until you reach Sprout Road. Look for the white tents along Sprout Road. Parking is at the curb. Please exercise caution when leaving your car and crossing the road to reach the launch site.
20. Do the students leave the camp site?
Camper safety is our number one priority. For this reason, campers do not leave the camp site during camp hours until they are checked out of camp by an authorized parent or guardian. The only exception is for the Big Event associated with Ultimate Flight camp when campers are escorted as they walk to the rocket launch site which is located along Sprout Road at the south boundary of the campus. (Parents and families are welcome to join us on launch day.)
21. How are restroom breaks conducted?
Restroom use is encouraged at the morning and afternoon breaks and at lunch. Should a student need to use the restroom at any other time, precautions are taken to ensure camper security. Middle-school campers must request permission to leave the classroom for restroom use; one camper at a time will be released during non-break periods as bathroom buddies are not allowed.
24. Do you provide before and/or after camp care?
We do not provide care before or after camp sessions. Please arrange prompt pickup of your student.
25. What happens if my student is involved in a disciplinary issue?
We reserve the right to remove from camp any student who is disruptive. Inappropriate language and/or behavior will not be tolerated. If a student is unable to correct his/her behavior, we may call the parent/guardian to pick up the student before the end of the camp day. Any student who persists in disruptive behavior may be dismissed from camp without any refund of fees.
26. What happens if my student is late for the start of camp?
If this should occur, the student should seek out a camp staff member to check-in and catch up. Your student may miss important instructions so please make every attempt to be prompt each day.
27. Do I need to report my student’s absence?
While we appreciate advance notice, we know that the unexpected does happen. If your camper misses a day of camp let the instructors know the next day so they can help your student catch up.
28. What happens if my camper misses a day of camp?
Missing a day of camp means that the student will miss an important part of the learning process which may not be able to be “made-up”. For projects that are team based, the student’s team will proceed with work. If you notify us in advance, we can have camp staff work with your camper on potential catch-up work.
29. What do I do if I need to reschedule my student’s camp week?
If you need to reschedule your student’s camp week, some fees may not be refundable.
- Notification of 30 days or more prior to the start of the originally scheduled camp: If you notify us at least 30 days prior to the start date and space is still available in the desired camp, a $25 change fee per camp applies. If space is not available, a $100 fee per student per camp will be charged and the remainder of the registration fee will be refunded.
- Notification of less than 30 days prior to the start of the originally scheduled camp: If you notify us less than 30 days prior to the start date and space is still available in the desired camp, a $50 change fee per camp applies. If space is not available, we are unable to refund any of the registration fee.
Please contact our Camp Registrar at 509-372-7123 to address any registration issues.
30. What if I need to cancel my student's camp week?
If you need to cancel your student’s camp week, there is a $100 fee per camp if the cancellation is made 30 or more days before the start date of the camp. Because we arrange for supplies and staffing in advance, no refund will be given if you cancel less than 30 days prior to the start date. Please contact our Camp Registrar at 509-372-7123 to address any registration issues.
31. What if my student has special needs?
If your student has special needs, some accommodations may be available so please let us know at least four weeks prior to the first class. Call us at 509-372-7123.
32. Will you give my student the medication he or she needs during the day?
We are unable to administer medication to students. If your student requires a dosage during camp hours, please make appropriate arrangements.
33. What if my student gets injured or ill while at camp?
The Lead Teacher will document any situation that results in an injury and will contact the parent/guardian as needed or, in an emergency, will contact 911 and then contact the parent/guardian.
34. Will I be able to contact my student if there is an emergency?
If there is an emergency situation and the parent must contact their student at camp they can call our Camp Registrar at 509-372-7123 or the campus general information line at 509-372-7000.
35. Is the camp staff trained in safety procedures?
All of our teachers and counselors have received safety training from WSU as well as in-depth training in specific areas from Vivid Learning Systems. The campus also has an emergency response plan (see www.tricity.wsu.edu/safetyplan/) and an on-site Safety Manager.
- 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
- 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Physics of the Ninja
- 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Unlock the Code behind Gaming
Science of Survival
- 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
- 8:30 a.m.-noon
Cracking the Human Code
- 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Call of the Wild
July 28-Aug. 1
- 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Power the Future