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Frequently Asked Questions about VAMPY

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us via email at gifted@wku.edu or by calling (270) 745-6323.

All times are CDT.

For those considering enrollment:

Please also see the VAMPY Experience.

"There are no grades here, but I try really hard because I want to see what I can do, to show myself that I can do it. I'm not trying to show other people what I can do — I'm just trying to prove it to myself that I'm capable. It's a really big self-confidence thing for me." — Hayden Teeter, VAMPY 2015-18

What classes are taught at VAMPY?
The overall course offerings change every summer, although some classes are taught multiple years in a row. We always provide a diverse curriculum, including courses in STEM (science, mathematics, technology and engineering) and the humanities. A list of the courses from which the student will choose is listed on the application and can also be found here (if the application for next summer’s program is not yet ready, you will see a list of courses from the previous year).

For more on class content, see our blog, including descriptions of what last year’s students did, as written by the course teaching assistants. (Search for the category "Summer Teaching Assistants" at the bottom of the home page.) 

Who teaches VAMPY classes?
Our teachers are WKU faculty and other outstanding educators who want to work with with high-interest and high-ability young people and understand how to create courses that challenge and excite gifted and talented students. They are supported by teaching assistants who are often undergraduate college students.

For more on teaching, see ourblog, including the 2019 article VAMPY TAs Do It All(Search for the category "VAMPY" at the bottom of the home page.) 


What is the class size?
For an optimum teacher-student ratio, classes are capped at 16 students; some classes will have fewer than 16.


What makes VAMPY courses different from classes during the regular school year?
First, VAMPY classes allow students to discover, follow, and develop their academic passions. Teachers shape their courses around students’ interests rather than a required curriculum, and spending three weeks in one academic area enables students to engage with a topic at a breadth and depth not available during the regular school year. In addition, rather than being motivated by grades, students are motivated by their inner desire to learn and to show themselves what they are capable of achieving.

Second, VAMPY creates a communal learning experience for teachers and students. Surrounded by peers who want to learn and are also of high-ability, VAMPY students are exposed to the experience of truly cooperative learning. There is no competition over grades or class standing, and there is no worrying about carrying the label of “the smart kid.” Class discussions are enthusiastic and thoughtful, and students genuinely value each other's viewpoints. Furthermore, teachers can share their own passion for their subject knowing it will be welcomed and will help their students take their own learning as far as possible.

For more on the learning experience, see our blog, including the 2019 article Learning Right Up to the End(Search for the category "VAMPY" at the bottom of the home page.) 


"Part of what makes VAMPY so great is not just the connections you make — those deep connections — but also the relate-ability with your peers. For me and for probably a lot of us at school, because we’re gifted students, there are some things that we experience that other people can't relate to. Here, everyone's gifted, so it's a lot easier to make those good connections and relate with people on another level that you can't at home." — Coleman Reed, VAMPY 2016-19


Does every class take field trips?
To help keep campers safe and healthy this year classes are not taking field trips.


What is a typical day like for campers?
On a typical weekday, campers make their way together to the Downing Student Union (DSU) to eat breakfast around 8:00 a.m. They then walk to their class, which begins at 8:45 a.m.. They go to lunch together at midday and return to class afterwards. When classes end at 4:15 p.m., they walk back to their residence hall to check in with their counselors and hallmates and have free time before dinner, then walk back to DSU to eat. After dinner, unless there is a special event, they choose from a wide range of Optionals, small group activities run by the counselors that offer everything from Capture the Flag to chalk art. On Sunday-Thursday, students also participate in study hall from 8:00-9:00 p.m., working under the guidance of their courses’ teaching assistant. The day ends with community time, and lights out is around 10:00 p.m. During the last two nights of camp, campers attend and/or participate in the talent show (Thursday night) and attend the banquet and dance (Friday night).

On the weekend, campers eat and relax together, do laundry as needed, attend a worship service if they choose to, and participate in special camp events where they meet new friends, learn treasured camp traditions, and make memories.

When not in class, campers are always under the supervision of our counselors.

For for more on life outside of class, see our blog, especially our counselor posts. (Search for the category "Summer Counselors" at the bottom of the home page.) 


Can VAMPY accommodate a student with special needs?
In most cases, yes. 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 contact us directly with any concerns or questions at gifted@wku.edu or (270) 745-6323.


How long has VAMPY been around?
VAMPY, originally called The Summer Program, was launched by The Center in 1984 in cooperation with the Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP). Thousands of young people from across the county and from many foreign countries have participated in the program. We are proud that for more than 35 years, we have met the needs of high-ability students for summer enrichment experiences alongside like-minded peers.

"I made friends here more easily than at any other time in my life. I love it here. It's my happy place." — Mikah Burdette, VAMPY 2015-18

For those already enrolled:

Please also see the VAMPY Experience.

When may parents visit?  
Many campers come from too far away for visits from parents, so visits are not expected. Parent visits are limited to weekends. Sunday afternoons work best, especially if parents help with laundry. All visits must be planned ahead with written and signed notification from parents. So that we know your plans, parents should do the following by noon on the Thursday preceding the intended visit:

  • complete and submit the parent visit form online

If permission for a visit does not arrive by noon on Thursday, parent visits will be limited to having lunch with campers at the Fresh Food Company in the Downing Student Union on campus. Parent Visit Forms may be accessed on this website shortly before camp starts.  


How much spending money should campers bring?
Everything needed in a regular day is provided for in the registration fee. All recreational activities are included. The only money students need is for laundry and miscellaneous items or snacks. Bringing large sums of money is discouraged.

What arrangements are made for campers arriving by plane?
To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we will not be accepting fly-in campers this year.


Will students have access to their cell phones?
Residential campers will turn in their cell phones to their counselor when they check in at camp and will not have access to them except for brief periods on a few evenings when there is phone time for calling home if they wish. For campers concerned about letting go of their devices for two weeks, consider this comment from a camper: “The fact that cell phones aren’t allowed makes everyone interact face to face, and it’s more fun than if they were allowed!”


How can campers receive communication?
By mail:

Student’s Name
c/o Dr. Julia Roberts
The Center for Gifted Studies
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #71031
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1031

To ensure prompt delivery, please do not send any mail to the residence hall.

Letter-writing instead of calling is encouraged. For some young people, this experience will be the first extended period away from home. Parents are encouraged to write positive, supportive letters to help students get the most out of VAMPY.

By phone:
In an emergency, parents may phone the office at (270) 745-6323 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and a staff member will arrange for the student to return the call. After normal office hours and on weekends, parents may call the front desk at the residence hall, and the desk clerk will see that the student gets the message.

What if campers get homesick?
For some campers, VAMPY is their first extended period away from home. Homesickness is not unusual. If campers, feel homesick, they should speak with their counselors. In the event that their student writes or calls to report homesickness or roommate problems, parents should stay positive and not overreact; they should contact Dr. Julia Roberts so that together we can help your camper work through problems and have a positive experience.





VAMPY Information

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 Last Modified 2/22/21