by Erika Solberg
SCATS is celebrating its 36th year this summer — and 11 campers are celebrating their third year of SCATS! I caught up with these veteran campers on their first day of class to see what has kept them coming back, and what they’re looking forward to this year.
The 11 third-year SCATS campers are
- David Abel of Owensboro*
- Megan Batson of Cookeville, TN
- Alex Bentley of Bowling Green
- Calloway Bills of Russellville
- Addie Blankinship of Birmingham, AL
- W.P. Hurt of Edmonton*
- Nathaniel Jones of West Point
- Seth Pendleton of Louisville
- Colin Reed of Bowling Green
- Logan Stewart of La Grange
- Nadia Turner of Brandenburg
*David and W.P. will also be completing the Five-Week Challenge, attending both SCATS and VAMPY back to back, a feat they already accomplished for the first time last year!
When asked why they have come to SCATS all three years, many mentioned the classes:
Calloway: I’ve done other gifted camps before, but the class options for SCATS are way better.
Megan: A lot of the classes are things you wouldn’t regularly learn at school — a lot of fun things.
Nadia: It’s just fun — it’s different from school because there are no grades or final tests. It’s laid back.
Nathaniel: I like that they have a class for everyone.
Others focused on the camp environment:
Logan: The community is great. The atmosphere here is really positive.
Addie: It’s my second home! It’s somewhere I feel comfortable being myself. I’ve met so many people, and they’ve all come back, so it’s fun to revisit everything and see people again.
W.P.: You make a whole bunch of friends, and every year you get to see them again.
Colin: The fact that cell phones aren’t allowed makes it so everyone interacts face-to-face, and it’s more fun that way. Also, everyone is very accepting of each other.
David: I really like hanging out with people who have similar interests as me.
Seth: I make such good friends here — it’s amazing.
Alex: Staying on campus is pretty fun too — there’s an all you can eat buffet!
As for favorite classes over the years, there was a wide range of responses.
- Both Alex and Calloway chose last year’s Government and Politics, also known as World Domination 101. Calloway is looking forward to this year’s Big Decisions in History, as is Nadia.
- Nathaniel and W.P. mentioned their two classes on Harry Potter.
- Nathaniel also enjoyed Roller Coaster Physics, offered in 2016. Logan, who picked it as a favorite as well, noted, “We got to work on our own which I really liked.”
- Many campers loved performance classes. Addie liked Singing 101: “I like that we had the option of what to sing — and it was a very diverse class.” W.P. enjoyed both Acting and Acting Take Two. Seth, meanwhile, loved Clowning, saying, “It’s awesome. I like how hands-on it is. You get to really experiment for yourself.”
- Colin and David chose writing classes as favorites. Colin took Writing Boot Camp, which has been offered multiple years in a row. David, who likes writing fantasies and mysteries, chose last year’s Future Authors.
- As for Megan, she has enjoyed classes in mythology, art, and culture. Her schedule is perfect for her this year because she is taking Around Russia in 10 Days, Greek Mythology, Singing 101, and Journey Across the Pacific.
Activities and traditions are central to the SCATS experience, so our third-year campers are already excited about upcoming events. When I asked what they are most looking forward to, they answered immediately:
Logan: I love Optionals. There’s always something I like.
Alex: Dodgeball and Capture the Flag.
Nadia: Mafia and Magic.
Nathaniel: Paper Theater.
W.P.: Paper Theater. It’s randomly creative and always really funny.
Megan: The dance at the end will be fun.
The most popular response was the SCATS Olympics. The campers were eager to explain why:
Colin: I like dodgeball — last year we won that. I also like Quick Recall.
David: There’s lot of fun options.
Addie: Everyone participates. I like the different countries, and I’m always with the same group of people.
Calloway: It’s my favorite part of camp. I like the competitiveness.
Seth: I love the SCATS Olympics. Dodgeball is one of my favorite things — and Four Square.
No doubt these campers will be spreading their enthusiasm for SCATS to the other campers throughout the two weeks. David already has a head start — his younger brother, Logan, is a first-year camper. As I left them at their lunch table on Monday, I heard Logan ask his brother, “What’s the SCATS Olympics?” David smiled, ready to share one of the many wonders of a camp he knows so well.