Special to 1808Delaware

Ohio Wesleyan University will host 672 gifted-and-talented elementary and middle schoolers on campus between June 9 and July 26 for four weeklong sessions of the Ohio Wesleyan/Junior League of Columbus (OWjL) Camp.

OWjL (pronounced “owl”) campers choose from more than 30 classes in humanities, creative arts, mathematics, science, logic, and computers as they make friends and learn it’s OK to be smart. This year’s classes include “Test for Success! 3D Printing Challenge,” “A Taste of Hogwarts,” “Murder in the Chem Lab,” “Hunger Games: Can You Survive?” and “This is Jeopardy! … and Other Trivial Pursuits.”

For the first time in its 43-year history, the OWjL program is adding a summer day camp to serve talented and gifted pupils in grades four through six. The program will continue to host three weeklong sessions of its residential camp for students in grades six through eight. The residential camp sessions will run from June 9-14, June 16-21, and June 23-28, and the day camp session will run from July 22-26.

OWjL also is expanding its service area outside of central Ohio this year to include qualified students throughout the state. All campers must meet Ohio’s definition of giftedness and are selected for the program after submitting an essay, two teacher recommendations, and a copy of their academic record.

Campers are taught by Ohio Wesleyan faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as national board-certified secondary school teachers, teachers of gifted and talented students, and other experts in their fields. The youths also are mentored by camp counselors including students from Ohio Wesleyan and other colleges and universities.

Many campers find the week transformational as they don’t often have access to classes intended to challenge them as gifted and talented students, said Josie Bair, director of the Ohio Wesleyan/Junior League of Columbus (OWjL) program.

“OWjL Camp is a beacon of educational excellence, inspiring curiosity and passion in our brightest young scholars,” Bair said. “I am honored to lead a program that shapes the future by nurturing the talents and aspirations of our campers.”

Students completing the OWjL program also give the camp high marks, with one recent camper stating: “Everybody is super nice and relatable. The classes are fun and challenging. The counselors all try and connect with you even if you’re not in their group. They really care and that’s a big thing.”

A recent parent adds: “My son had a great time and learned so much – including social skills. I love that OWjL camp did not allow electronics so he could be fully engaged in the experience and make new friends. We will definitely be back!”

The Ohio Wesleyan/Junior League of Columbus camp was founded in 1981 after a two-year study that determined the region’s gifted and talented middle school students were underserved during the school year and would benefit from programs to promote discovery and foster skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, research, leadership, and communication. Learn more at owu.edu/OWjL.

Image by celinedbt from Pixabay


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The multi-week classes are taught by volunteers.