Hazy but Never Lazy
Summer camps heat up Dickinson campus
by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
July 5, 2012
Students in a neuroscience class study brain structure and function, sheep brains in hand.
The campus in summer may appear quiet, but there’s still much afoot. In addition to student-faculty research projects, community arts programming, admissions tours and a smattering of special events, Dickinson hosts youth camps that provide rewarding experiences for hundreds of youths.
Currently on campus
Current visitors include young dancers studying at the nearby Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and students in Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program. All use Dickinson facilities and residence halls; the approximately 400 CTY students visiting campus over the course of two summer sessions also keep Dickinson classrooms buzzing, attending intensive classes five days a week.
Dickinson has participated as a host of the summer-enrichment program for 30 years, having been selected by its then-director, President William G. Durden '71, as a program site in 1982. It’s a natural partnership for a college with an international focus, since the center brings together students from 120 countries, including 19 from Kazakhstan and Macedonia this year.
“In addition to a challenging academic environment, the program gives students a chance to befriend other top students from across the country and around the world, building a meaningful network of like-minded peers that can last for decades,” says CTY spokesperson Charles Beckman.
Active and engaged
There’s plenty going on at the Kline Fitness Center and Biddle Field too. Young athletes from the community and beyond attend Dickinson’s soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, football and other athletics camps, each tailored to meet the needs of athletes at various skill and age levels.
Caitlin Williams, head field hockey coach, heads up three grade-specific camps this year, which are geared toward children and youth from preschool through high school. “The young children are introduced to the sport in an enjoyable environment,” she says. “We push advanced players, physically and mentally, to [improve their performance] under pressure and achieve the success they need to build confidence in themselves and their athletic abilities.” These are opportunities many campers may not otherwise receive, she notes.
The camps also instill lifelong interest in sports and an active lifestyle, says Head Basketball Coach Alan Seretti. Just as important, they offer young athletes a slice of campus life, potentially opening new worlds of experience to them, and all other young summer visitors. “These are lessons that can remain with our campers well beyond their playing days and help to shape their futures,” Seretti says.
The rewards are mutual, says Dina Henry, head women’s basketball coach, who expects to teach approximately 100 campers this summer. “The instructional camps connect Dickinson to the community and expand a local fan base for Red Devil teams, and the prospect camps are great recruting tools for us,” she says. "“It's a win-win for everyone.”