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The SCATS Experience

What is the SCATS experience like? Watch our video below!

Our camp blog will give you a great sense of what SCATS is all about. Try these stories: What Campers REALLY Think About SCATS and Campers Prepared to Razzle and Dazzle in the Talent Show.

The Learning Environment

All campers take four classes from an array of choices that include art, foreign language, literature, mathematics, music, science, social studies, technology, and writing. Teachers incorporate a variety of projects into their curriculum, creating a challenging, flexible format with learning experiences designed for high-ability students.

See these articles from our camp blog for more about the SCATS learning environment:

SCATS Teachers Love to Learn as Much as Their Students Do

SCATS Classes Cover All the Domains of Giftedness

Creativity Is Everywhere at SCATS   

"At SCATS I've learned that I'm not the only smart person. Here, I'm with equals." — Joseph McNealy, SCATS 2019

Living and Dining Arrangements for Residential and Nonresidential Campers

Students may choose between being residential or nonresidential campers. Residential campers live on campus while nonresidential campers travel to and from campus each day. Nonresidential campers do not participate in after-class or weekend activities except for the talent show and the final dinner and dance.

Each residential camper will live with one other camper in an air-conditioned residence hall room monitored by a counselor. Campers may request a specific roommate. Each residential camper is issued a room key and a lanyard. Coin-operated laundry facilities are available.

All students will dine together at lunch, and residential students will dine together for breakfast and dinner as well. For almost all meals, campers will eat at the main WKU campus dining facility, the Fresh Food Company. This buffet-style dining hall serves a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and beverages — including vegetarian dishes, pizza, a full salad bar, and soft-serve ice cream. Accommodations for various dietary needs are available. All meals are included in the tuition for residential campers. Only lunch is included in the tuition for nonresidential campers.


Activities Outside of Class

In the evenings and on weekends, residential campers will participate in a variety of cultural, educational, and recreational activities which include community-wide events as well as optional individual and team sports, games, and creative adventures designed by the camp counselors. There will be many opportunities to enjoy getting to know other young people with similar abilities and interests. Care will be given to accommodate physical and social needs. Students also have the option of attending a worship service on Sunday mornings and will have supervised access to WKU’s recreational and library facilities. Residential counselors are involved in all activities with campers when not in class.

For both residential and nonresidential campers, there are special events on the final two nights of camp. All campers are also invited (but not required) to participate in the talent show on the last Wednesday night — please bring any supplies needed for your act. On the last Thursday night, a dinner and dance will be held for all campers.

For a sense of typical camp activities, see the SCATS photos in our photostream and blog posts written by our counselors.

"SCATS is a program where kids can express themselves and truly be themselves." — Emma Hyman, SCATS 2019


Groups of 12 to 16 campers will be assigned to each residential camp counselor. Since the residential counselors must work closely with gifted young people and are expected to serve as positive adult role models for these students, individuals selected for these positions must:

  1. Have completed at least one year of college
  2. Have demonstrated a high level of academic performance
  3. Be of high moral character
  4. Have had successful experience working with young people
  5. Have recreational interests/skills which can be shared with young people.

Many counselors are college students or young teachers. Residential counselors live in the residence halls with the campers and work seven days a week. The counselors are responsible for planning, implementing, and supervising individual and group recreational activities for campers in the evenings and on weekends. The residential staff will work under the direct supervision of Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of The Center for Gifted Studies.

Great care is taken in selecting residential counselors and other faculty and staff for the summer programs offered by The Center. All workers have undergone criminal background checks as required by legislation. Every effort will be undertaken to ensure the safety and happiness of campers. Campers will be supervised by adult staff members, by classroom teachers, or by residential counselors.

To get a feel for what our counselors are like, see their blog posts


"I get to see these kids have the same growth in confidence and in academics that I had when I was a camper. And it’s amazing to watch.” — Tori Edwardson, SCATS 2009, VAMPY 2010-13, Counselor 2016-19

Suggested Packing List, Dress Code, and What Not To Pack

Packing List: We suggest you bring the following:

  • blankets
  • sheets (extra long twin or two twin flat sheets)
  • pillowcases
  • pillow
  • towels
  • washcloths
  • soap and toiletries
  • umbrella and/or rain coat
  • paper
  • notebook
  • pencils/pens
  • athletic equipment (optional)
  • musical instruments (optional)
  • backpack
  • water bottle

Dress code:

Appropriate dress for VAMPY consists of casual summer clothes such as shorts, jeans, khakis, shirts appropriate for class, and athletic shoes or comfortable walking shoes. We suggest bringing a sweatshirt or light jacket as well. You may also want to bring one or two dressy outfits if you plan to attend optional Sunday worship, for the dance, and for the end-of-camp dinner.

Please keep these rules in mind:

  • T-shirts/tops should be long enough to cover the midriff and undergarments at all times.
  • “Low-riding” pants can only be worn with shirts that ensure complete coverage of the midsection and underwear.
  • Jeans/khakis should not drag on the floor.
  • All lettering, slogans, and artwork on clothing must in good taste.
  • No “short-shorts.”
  • No clothing with holes.
  • Clothing should NOT draw attention to campers.

Campers MAY NOT bring:

  • television sets
  • computers
  • skateboards
  • scooters
  • bicycles
  • roller blades
  • high-caffeine drinks
  • expensive items
  • laser pointers
  • knives
  • weapons (including toys such as NERF and dart guns)
  • pets
  • candles
  • fireworks
  • tablet devices (unless approved by The Center for classwork)


Code of Conduct

SCATS participants and their parents will be asked to sign a code of conduct which states that the camper will abide by the rules of the camp and by the standards of conduct set forth by their teachers. It also stipulates conditions for use of the Internet. The code of conduct also states that campers may not leave campus unless a parent/guardian has made prior written arrangements. Finally, it emphasizes the severe consequences — being sent home without refund of registration fee — if a camper is found with tobacco products, illegal drugs or alcohol, or if a camper endangers his or her own health or welfare or that of others. This code of conduct exists to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Special Needs

Please let us know about any dietary needs, such as vegetarian or diabetic diet. If a student needs to take medication or shots during the camp, the medication and written instructions from a physician should be provided. If you have any questions about accommodations for your child, don’t hesitate to contact us at gifted@wku.edu or by calling (270) 745-6323.


Additional Information

Additional information regarding check-in and other details will be sent prior to the beginning of camp.

Please also look at our FAQ page, or contact us via email at at gifted@wku.edu or by calling (270) 745-6323.


SCATS Information 


Application Process

The SCATS Experience



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 Last Modified 5/14/20