High School FAQ

WSU TRI-CITIES SUMMER STEM CAMP

Engaging and Empirical Education

STEM camps are designed to educate and entertain high school students as they develop social and scientific skills.

Many of your questions will be answered below, but let us know if you have more.

1. 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. We selected specific learning experiences from among those developed by Federally-funded university experts and activities created by national professional organizations and societies.

2. 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 and experience in teaching hands-on science and engineering. They must also have a track record of success in managing a diverse classroom. 100% of our teachers have current teaching credentials in the State of Washington. Over 80% of our teachers have at least one advanced degree. All have passed background investigations.

3. What is the student to teacher ratio?

There is typically one certified teacher and one camp counselor for every 24-30 campers.

4. 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, skills in problem-based learning, 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 are adult students at WSU Tri-Cities. All counselors have passed a background investigation and are required to participate in curriculum and safety training.
5. What is the Information Packet?

The Student Information Packet is a critical part of the registration process. Once completed, it will contain important information that will help our staff coordinate the best possible experience at camp for your student. Because we value privacy and some information we ask for is confidential, the Student Information Packet will only be shared with WSU staff on a “need to know” basis.

Please do not email or upload the Student Information Packet online. 

Instructions for downloading, completing, and submitting the Student Information Packet may be found here. We must have one Student Information Packet mailed to our campus for each student in order to reserve their seat. We are unable to permit students to participate in camp if we do not receive it.

6. Are snacks and lunch provided?

Yes, lunch will be served for each day, every camp. Healthy snacks will also available during break time. The cost is included in the price for registering for all STEM camps. 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. Food is not allowed in the classrooms and both food and beverages are not allowed in the computer laboratory.

We will consider your student’s special dietary needs when serving lunch as questions related to food allergies and intolerances are included on the first page of the Student Information Packet.

Students are welcome to bring their own lunch marked with the their name. Unfortunately, we do not have refrigerated storage for use by students but a microwave is available for student use.

There is a 1-hour lunch break for students.

If you have any questions about lunch or snacks served, please contact the Summer Session office at (509) 372-7123.

7. What does my student need to bring to camp?

Remember to:

  • Bring a backpack or sturdy bag and a clear water bottle (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.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes that are appropriate for active and sometimes messy camp activities. Short shorts, low necklines, dresses, open-toed sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate for camp participation.

We discourage bringing personal items such as electronics, as they can be distracting to other students. Note that we are not responsible for the damage or loss of any personal item.

8. What is your electronics policy?

Phones: To maximize learning and minimize distractions, we require that cell phones are put in silent mode during camp. Students may check messages and use their phones during breaks and at lunch.

Other electronic devices: The use of ear buds, headphones and the playing of electronic games during camp does not support an active learning environment and could impact the safety of campers. Hence, this use is prohibited.

Students who do not respect the requirements above will be given one reminder. After that time, the device may be put into the student’s backpack. 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.

9. What should my student wear?

It is important that campers are comfortable so they can concentrate on participating. To ensure safety, we require that all campers wear closed toe shoes. Students with open-toed shoes may be asked to not participate in camp activities until they make arrangements for other foot ware to be delivered to camp and are able to change into closed-toed shoes.

We recommend casual clothes such as t-shirts, jeans or shorts. Short shorts or skirts and low necklines are not appropriate for camp participation. A student, who is not dressed in a safe or appropriate manner for camp activities, may be asked to go home to change clothes or make arrangements for other clothes to be delivered to camp for their use.

10. Do you provide transportation?

Washington State University Tri-Cities does not provide transportation to or from camp.  Parents must indicate how transportation will be arranged for their camper in the Student Information Packet.

11. Could my student use public transportation (Ben-Franklin Transit)?

The 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 Sprout 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 camps, the route 26 bus leaves the Knight Street Transit Center at 7:45am and arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 7:55am.

For the departure of the camps, the route 26 bus arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 5:17pm.

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.

12. Could my student drive or ride with someone else?

Campers become the responsibility of camp upon check-in. If you wish to have your student drive him/herself to and from campus, please indicate so on the Student Information form.

If you have made arrangements for your student to ride with a non-family member, please indicate so on the Student Information form.

Once a student has signed in to camp, he or she is not allowed to leave camp until the end of the camp day.

13. Do the students leave the camp site?

Camper safety is our number one priority. For this reason, students are not allowed to leave the campus during camp hours. No off-campus field trips are associated with these camps.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. What happens if my student 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.

18. Can my student leave the camp during the day?

Students are not allowed to leave the campus during camp hours. If your student has a medical or other appointment that occurs during the camp day, please send a written note authorizing your student’s release from camp for that date and time.

19. What do I do if I need to reschedule my student’s camp week?

Contact us right away if you need to reschedule your student’s camp week. Changes between camps are possible only on a space available basis. For an additional fee and based on space available, we can switch your reservation to another camp.

  • Notification of 30 days or more prior to the start of the originally scheduled camp: A $40 change fee per camp applies if changing camps at least 30 days prior to the start date of the originally-scheduled camp.
  • 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 of the originally scheduled camp, a $50 change fee per camp applies.

Please contact our Camp Registrar at 509-372-7123 to address any registration issues.

20. What if I need to cancel my student’s camp week?

A $125 fee per student per camp will be charged if you cancel a camp 30 or more days before the start date.

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 questions.

21. What if my student has special needs?

Please indicate these needs in the Student Information Packet. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

The Campus Safety Plan is at http://tricities.wsu.edu/safety/.

24. 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.

25. Is the camp staff trained in safety procedures?

All of our teachers and counselors have received safety training from WSU. The campus also has an emergency response plan (see http://tricities.wsu.edu/safety/) and an on-site Safety Manager.

Sign up today for a summer camp…