When we were kids, our dreams were only as limited as our imaginations. Kindergarten classrooms were full of budding astronauts, veterinarians and the occasional WWE wrestler.
Now we’re older and our visions more realistic. We’ve all had to figure out which of our various interests are worth chasing. That’s what EDUcamp is for—a way to explore potential future paths in a God-centered environment.
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EDUcamp is a series of weekday summer programs on the BJU campus. The focus of the multiple camps is to help high school students explore interests that they might want to study in college.
“There’s a lot of research that shows when students go to college knowing what they want to study, they’re more successful than students who go to college to figure it out,” BJU chief enrollment officer Bobby Wood said. “You hear about so many students who end up changing their major and, while that’s not a problem, it’s expensive. Once a student finds their purpose in life, they zone in on really being good at that and they’re far more successful.”
Acting director of EDUcamp Stephen Kopp said, “I guess you can sum up EDUcamp’s purpose in the phrase of ‘Become who God made you to be.’ And sometimes that takes some figuring out and unearthing of talents as well as opportunities. So that’s really the goal—to help you find your place in the world and how God has gifted you, talent-wise, as well as direction. Because it’s really hard to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life when you’re 18.”
Every year, EDUcamp grows bigger and bigger.
“Since EDUcamp was born several years ago in 2015, we were averaging 850 kids for the whole summer,” said Kopp. “Last year, we had almost 1,800 campers. With the addition this year of EDUcamp Jr., which is for rising second- through eighth-grade students, we are on pace to surpass 2,000 kids for the summer.”
The program has proved to be an attractive concept for people across the United States and even around the world.
EDUcamp Jr. features camps covering topics such as bug biodiversity, robotics and technology, science of history, theater and music, plus athletic camps.
“That one works a bit differently,” Wood said. “It’s going to be more ‘themed.’ We’ll take a subject matter like chemistry and then master teachers will break it down to age-level appropriate projects and activities to help them understand the principles of chemistry. There’s so much out there to learn, and we want them to get passionate about learning.”
Along with broadening the age range, a new branch called EDUcamp Scholar is launching alongside the summer program in 2019. This initiative allows selected high school students who apply to get a head start on college by allowing them to complete two college credits in only three weeks. The acquired credits apply to any associate or bachelor degree program at BJU. An Art + Design program is offered for 2019, with additional options proposed for the summer of 2020.
The Mission Statement
Ultimately, the vision behind EDUcamp is traced to a single statement: “BJU EDUcamps provide a friendly and fun summer program for teenage students to experience God, develop life skills, and consider possible career pathways.”
As Wood explained, the goal of EDUcamp is for every student to walk through campus and think to themselves, “BJU is a friendly and fun place that makes me better.”
According to Kopp, the programs are “very reflective of what happens in the classroom throughout the year. You get that real hands-on experience in a controlled, biblically-focused environment.”
Visit the EDUcamp website to learn more.