Science Camp

Science Camp

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a typical day in Science Camp like?

At 9 AM, campers gather into teams of about 30. Each camper is welcomed into the group for a fun (typically outdoor) icebreaker exercise. The group then moves into a room equipped with tables to begin some hands-on activities related to the day’s theme. These creative exploratory activities continue with a limited amount of guided instruction until lunch time. Each group has lunch (~30 minutes) in our cafeteria with full access to a variety of dishes, including salad bar and drinks. The afternoon activities, such as those featured in the Facebook page photos, are large-scale implementations of the concepts they explored earlier in the morning activities. This often involves group games, treasure hunts, or team participation. The day concludes in the same groups much as it began, and the campers are returned to the drop-off point for pickup. The campers are greeted by the same staff members each day, before transferring to the other staff responsible for that day’s activities.

How competitive are the activities?

Most of our activities are exploratory. Occasionally, we invoke team competitiveness to boost the experience in accord with education theory. However, this is never the basis for awarding prizes or favoritism for any camper. We’re also careful to let our campers use all their talents, including athletic, artistic, creative, intellectual, and social skills.

What is the camper-to-counselor ratio?

Each camper works in a small group of about ten (10) campers with one team leader. There are typically three of these groups working together in one age group of a “color team.”

How much supervision is there?

Three to four adults work directly with any one classroom of about 30 campers. One or two staff members directly supervise both age groups of a color team. All staff members report to the Camp Directors (Steve Szczepankiewicz, PhD, and Phil Sheridan, PhD). 

How are counselors screened and trained?

The counselors are all screened, hired, and trained by the camp directors, and paid directly through the camp. We expect the majority to be Canisius College undergraduate students. Preference will be given to students who have had prior experience with the camp, science education, or science majors. A small number of high school interns may also work with the camp.

What are the enrollment statistics?

Enrollment closed with 300 campers. Each small group of about 10 campers will be led by one team instructor. Other statistics from the 2010 camp (292 campers) are listed here. 71 schools represented with students from 42 ZIP codes were represented in 2010. See our school sheet for the schools represented in 2010.

Enrollment demographics are entirely dependent on self-selection. We do not target any specific groups or schools for enrollment, except for the scholarships offered to students in schools partnered with our School of Education and Human Services.

Are the activities different each year?

Yes.

What is the liability information all about?

The liability form is for our campers’ safety. We need this to offer band-aids for skinned knees, etc. Many of our activities are held outdoors in a playful atmosphere. Kids this age tend to run, jump, and play -- and fall, bump, and scrape. Even the most minor incidents are reported immediately to the contact(s) listed on the application. We can happily report no injuries beyond a bump or bandage in our ten-year history.

Can my child be placed in a group with his/her friends?

Yes, provided that your camper's friends are enrolled in the same color team and the same grade level.  This option is included in the online registration form.  We can not switch campers between groups once either group has been closed. 

What is a color team?

Science Camp is divided into two parts: one for campers entering 5th & 6th grades, and the other for campers entering 7th & 8th grades. Campers on the same color team participate in the same general activity on the same day (e.g. flight), and rotate together through the activities over the course of the week.   A team of teachers prepares each activity and tailors it for one of the two age levels (and adjusts for each specific class). There are two classrooms for each activity running simultaneously: one for 5th & 6th grades, and the other for 7th & 8th grades.

I have a child just outside the grade range. Can this child attend?

Maybe. We treat this situation on a case-by-case basis. The best case is to allow siblings of different ages to attend together. If you wish to enroll a child entering 4th grade, please understand that he or she will be grouped with other kids slightly older. Please contact the director to make arrangements. Age or grade verification may be required for all applications.

Is busing available?

Busing is no longer available.

These hours don't work very well for me. Can I drop off my child early, or pick him/her up late?

Yes. We have both early and late programs for the week of camp. This is currently available with registration. Early drop-off  starts at 7:30 AM and late pickup ends at 5:30 PM.

Is there a wait list?

No.  It has been our experience that few if any campers resign any seats already purchased.

Scholarships

Partial scholarships may become available pending external grant funding.  Notice will be posted if funding is awarded that will allow us to offer scholarships.  Campers must demonstrate financial need, typically using eligibility for reduced school lunch fees.  Please contact the camp director as each case is treated individually.

My question isn't listed here. Who can answer more questions?

Please contact the camp director, Steven Szczepankiewicz, PhD, at science@canisius.edu.