STEM camps are designed to educate and entertain middle 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.
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 on the first day of camp, we recommend you phone (509) 372-7123 to see if there is space available.
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 toward students who are ages 10-14. Camp activities are active and are filled with hands-on experiences. They require students to have grade-level reading, comprehension, and math skills. They are taught in English by certified teachers.
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. Ask for a Teacher Recommendation form by contacting the Summer Session office at (509) 372-7123.
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.
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 rigorous background investigations.
There is typically one certified teacher and one camp counselor for every 24-30 campers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Washington State University Tri-Cities does not provide transportation to or from camp. Parents must provide transportation for their camper. Some families purchase bus passes from Ben-Franklin Transit; see http://www.bft.org/products-page/product-category/bus-pass-summer-youth-pass/.
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 all day and morning session camps, the route 26 bus leaves the Knight Street Transit Center at 8:15am and arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 8:25am.
For the arrival of the afternoon session camps, the route 26 bus leaves the Knight Street Transit Station at 12:45pm and arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 12:55pm.
For the departure of the morning session camps, the route 26 bus arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at12:25pm.
For the departure of the all day and afternoon session camps, the route 26 bus arrives at the Sprout Rd bus stop at 4:47pm.
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 Packet.
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 Packet 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 Packet. 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 or transportation via bicycle; this is provided by the parent/guardian on the Student Information Packet, page 3. If your student will be using one of these alternative forms of transportation and will not be picked up from camp, you must provide authorization as noted above.
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.
A weekly schedule describes 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.
You can reinforce what your student has learned each by asking questions about that day’s projects, when your student returns home after camp, or having him or her explain that day’s concepts to you and to other siblings.
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 by the check-in/out station.
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.
Camper safety is our number one priority. For this reason, students do not leave the campus during camp hours until they are checked out of camp by an authorized parent or guardian. No off-campus field trips are associated with these camps.
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.
We do not provide care before or after camp sessions. Please arrange prompt drop-off and pick-up of your student.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please contact our Camp Registrar at 509-372-7123 to address any registration issues.
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.
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.
We are unable to administer medication to students. If your student requires a dosage during camp hours, please make appropriate arrangements.
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.
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.