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The VAMPY Experience


Our camp blog will give you a great sense of what VAMPY is all about. Try these 2019 stories, The Big Dipper, My Little Pony, and the Void: VAMPY Week One and VAMPY’s Broad Geographical Reach Expands Horizons, or search for the category "VAMPY" at the bottom of the home page.

The Learning Environment

Learning at VAMPY is conducted in a fast-paced, challenging format. Classes meet six hours each week day and are taught by WKU professors and other experienced educators who are interested in teaching academically talented students. Teachers incorporate a variety of projects, field trips, and lectures into their curriculum. Each teacher has a teaching assistant who works with students in study hall in the evenings. Class size is limited to 16 students, and learning experiences are planned for high-ability students.

See our blog for descriptions of what last year’s students did, as written by the course teaching assistants. (Search for the category "Summer Taching Assistants" at the bottom of the home page.)

Read articles about our 2019 classes from our blog: Learning Right Up to the End and VAMPY TAs Do It All.

Read about the experiences of two 2018 campers taking the Nazi Germany and the Holocaust class, published at Classrooms Without Borders.

"Taking away the competitive atmosphere is one of the most amazing parts of VAMPY. It allows you to escape some of the things that may happen at your home school or outside of camp." — Sarah Pedersen, VAMPY 2015-18 

Activities Outside of Class

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

See our blog for descriptions of some of last year’s activities, as written by our counselors. (Search for the category "Summer Counselors" at the bottom of the home page.)

Living and Dining Arrangements

The residential component is an integral part of the VAMPY experience. Each residential camper lives with one other camper in an air-conditioned residence hall room monitored by a counselor. Students may request roommates. Each student is issued a room key and a lanyard. Laundry facilities are available. 

All students dine together. For almost all meals, they 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, including special events like the end-of-camp banquet.

"The environment here makes a lot more people willing to make themselves vulnerable, and so a lot more people will put themselves out there. They're a lot more willing to make new friends here than they are at school. Because of that, you're making deeper connections with students. You also have a much deeper connection with the teachers, as well as the counselors." — Will Sayler, VAMPY 2016-19


Groups of 12 to 16 students 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 students and work seven days a week. The counselors are responsible for planning, implementing, and supervising individual and group recreational activities for students 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 students’ safety and happiness. Students will be supervised by teachers in class or by counselors in the residence hall.

See our blog for posts written by counselors(Search for the category "Summer Counselors" at the bottom of the home page.)

See our 2019 story about counselors, “They’re My Kids”: VAMPY Counselors Support the Whole Child.

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 dances, 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) 

"When I was at home, if I was ever having a bad day, I would be like, 'It's fine. When summer comes, I can go to VAMPY.' This camp's definitely changed my life. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn’t gone." — Finn Shirley, VAMPY 2016-19

Code of Conduct

VAMPY participants and their parents will be asked to sign a Code of Conduct which states that the student will abide by the rules of the camp and by the standards of conduct set forth by the teachers, counselors, and staff. It also stipulates conditions for use of the Internet. In addition, the Code of Conduct states that students 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 student is found with tobacco products, illegal drugs, or alcohol; or if a student endangers their own health or welfare or that of others. This Code of Conduct exists to insure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Special Needs

We have experience working with students who require assistance getting around campus, have dietary restrictions, need specific learning accommodations, have ongoing medical conditions, and/or have other special needs. Please let us know about any accommodations for your child. 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 of concerns, 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.

VAMPY Information

Application Process






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 Last Modified 10/14/20