Second-Generation Campers: Continuing the Magic of SCATS

by Erika Solberg

Gracyn Phillips (center)

One of the great delights of providing a camp for gifted middle schoolers for 37 years is that we are at the point where we can watch the children of former campers have their own SCATS experiences. This week we caught up with 2019’s second-generation campers to see what drew them to SCATS, what they have learned so far, and what they are looking forward to.

Maggie McCloud

Maggie McCloud is a second-year camper going into eighth grade at Hayes Middle School in Lexington. She is the daughter of Craig McCloud, who attended SCATS in 1989-90. Her uncle, Carson McCloud (SCATS 1989-90), is also a camp alum, and her sister, Collyn McCloud, will attend Camp Innovate in July.

What made you want to come to SCATS last year, and what made you come back this year?
To be honest, my dad made me come last year. I’d thought I was going to be the only social one here and have to room with weird people. But at the end, when my mom picked me up, I didn’t want to leave because I’d realized that there were people like me here, social people who want to talk. I made so many friends here, and I feel like this environment is really good for people like me to make new friends and to learn new things.

What did you learn last year?
Last year I learned Chinese — that was pretty cool. I also learned how to travel on a budget and all about the Salem witch trials.

Are there any Optionals you really enjoy?
I love the friendship bracelet Optional. Honestly, all of them are great — the counselors make them really fun.

Have you noticed any differences being a second year camper?
I definitely know the campus more, and I can pick out people from the crowd who were here last year. It’s been fun seeing people I haven’t see since SCATS last year.


Gracyn Phillips

Gracyn Phillips, daughter of Brian Philipps (SCATS 1993-94), is a first-year camper going into eighth grade at Blanchester Middle School in Clarksville, OH.

What made you decide to come to SCATS this year? My dad came here when he was my age, and he had good memories. He told me about it, and I was like, “Let’s go!”

What have you learned so far?
I’m taking Art Around the World, Breakout Room Frenzy!, Biographies Plus Your Story, and Books: Exploring Through Literature. So far I’ve learned a lot about different cultures and art, read a book called Fire Girl which was really good, learned a lot about problem solving, and wrote a biography on one of my favorite YouTubers, Caroline Manning — she’s a singer-songwriter who’s really inspirational to me.

Did your dad tell you about any of the SCATS traditions?
He told me about a couple things, but it’s changed since he was here because that was several years ago. [Editor’s note: it’s been 26 years, so Gracyn clearly has also learned how to be diplomatic.]

What Optionals have you done?
Last night I did the Great SCATS Baking Show. We watched The Great British Baking Show on Netflix and ate Oreo cakes. It was a lot fun.

Are you looking forward to the SCATS Olympics?
Yes! My group is Sweden, so Sweden is taking taking home the victory!


Cy Nash

Cy Nash, a second-year camper from Bowling Green, is going into eighth grade at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN. She has many SCATS connections: her mother, Catherine Nash, attended SCATS in 1994, and her uncles Woods Nash (SCATS 1995-96) and Will Nash (SCATS 1997-98) also attended camp. Cy herself attended the Summer Camp in 2013 and Super Saturdays in 2013-14 and 2017.

What made you decide to come to SCATS last year and come back this year?
My mom and her brothers went and really liked it, so they wanted me to come. Last year I said I’d try it out. I liked it a lot and had a lot of fun — it was a great experience all around. When I asked if I could come back, they said yes, and now I’m here again!

What are some highlights from last year?
I took Books, Books, Books; Writing Boot Camp; Greek Mythology; and Never Forget: The Holocaust. I did an Optional where we made pet rocks — that was really fun. I also did another with a murder mystery card game that was great.

Are there any special events that you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the SCATS Olympics. Last year I was part of the relay race and did the word puzzle to find all the counselors’ names.


Mina Hartman

Mina Hartman, a first-year camper from Lexington, is going into the eighth grade at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Her mother, Pang Chartisathian Hartman, attended SCATS in 1987 and VAMPY in 1990.

[Editor’s note: Mina was hard to catch up with because she settled quickly into her classes, such as The Art of Mathematics, where she learned about ratios by drawing pictures of a box of Lifesavers Gummies in ratios of 1:1, 1:2, and 2:1. She also was enjoying interacting with her SCATS Film School teacher — when he said his students could ask him anything, she responded with, “Do you like potatoes?” However, although we did not ask her about potatoes, we did ask the following:]

Is there anything that you’ve heard about SCATS that you’re looking forward to?
The talent show. I’m going to perform — I brought my violin.

What do you like to play on the violin?
I like original soundtracks from video games.

What classes are you taking?
Double Threat: Writing and Monologues, The Modern French Experience, the Art of Mathematics, and SCATS Film School. I wanted to take Film School so I could learn how to edit. I’m going to do a documentary on the history of Nintendo.


Connor Edds

Connor Edds of Bowling Green is a second-year camper going into eighth grade at Bowling Green Junior High School. His father, Eric Edds, not only attended SCATS in 1988-89 and VAMPY in 1988 but also began serving on The Center’s Advisory Board in 2016. Connor attended Super Saturdays in 2015-16, and his brother, Ethan, attended Super Saturdays in 2015-16 and 2019.

What made you decide to come to SCATS last year and return this year?
Last year, we received the application, and my dad encouraged me to go. I enjoyed it, so I thought I’d come back.

What were some highlights of camp for you last year?
I really liked my suitemates and my roommate. I also liked taking Clowning — I had all good classes.

What have you learned so far this year?
I remembered how to juggle — that’s good! Besides Clowning, I’m taking SCATS Film School, Musical Theatre Exploration, and Painting.

What Optionals are you looking forward to?
I heard there were some really fun ones last year that I didn’t do, so I’m going to try to do those this year. I’m also looking forward to the Talent Show and the other events at the end like the dinner and the dance.

How is SCATS different from regular school?
You’re taking fun classes — you’re learning stuff, but it’s fun.


Caroline Moots

Caroline Moots is a second-year camper going into eighth grade at Kirksville Middle School in  Kirksville, MO. Her SCATS pedigree is lengthier than most: since her grandmother is Julia Roberts, who has directed the camp since it began, she could be considered a third-generation camper! Her mother, Stacy Roberts Moots (SCATS 1983-84, Travel), aunt Julie Boggess Roberts (SCATS 1986-87, Counselor, Instructor, Travel), sisters Elizabeth Moots (Summer Camp 2012, VAMPY 2019, Travel,) and Jane Ann Moots (Camp Innovate 2019, Travel), and cousin Claire Boggess (Summer Camp 2014, Camp Explore 2015 and 2017, Super Saturdays 2016 and 2018, Camp Innovate 2017, Travel) are all alums. Caroline also attended Summer Camp in 2012, has been on travel-study trips with The Center, and will also be attending VAMPY this summer.

What were you looking forward to at SCATS this year?
Seeing my roommate, since I haven’t seen her since January. And everything, really — I like the classes, and Optionals are fun too. My favorite class last year was Communication and Leadership.

Have you done any good Optionals so far?
I did one called Two Weeks. They gave us pool noodles and balls. If someone hit you with one, you were out — it was like the Hunger Games.

What’s something you’ve learned this week?
I’ve been taking Roller Coaster Physics, so we’ve learned about of types of energy, like kinetic and potential. In Double Threat: Writing and Monologue, I’ve written a comedic monologue and a dramatic monologue.

That class is taught by your aunt, Julie Boggess. How is she different in the classroom from just being an aunt?
Honestly, she’s exactly how I expected her to be. Not very different at all.

How does it feel to go to SCATS after hearing about it since you were little?
It feels like, “Of course I’m here!” — because I’ve planned to go to SCATS and VAMPY my entire life!


Asher Britt (far right)

Asher Britt, a second year camper, is the son of Shannon Lyle Britt (VAMPY 1992). He is going into eighth grade at Dickson Middle School in Dickson, TN and attended Super Saturdays in 2015-16 and Camp Innovate in 2016-17.

Why did you decide to come to SCATS last year and come back this year?
My mom told me that it was fun, and I got my intelligence from her, so I attended last year. I had a blast — it was super fun, and I learned a lot of new things, so I decided to come back for a second year.

What were some of the things you liked last year?
I liked my class on bridge-building. I also liked that we weren’t on technology the whole time, so we actually got social. I met a lot of new friends and kept in contact with some of them.

Did you have any favorite Optionals last year?
Definitely Capture the Flag.

Is it a good thing to be away from home for two weeks?
Yes — I get away from all my siblings. Right now at home I have two brothers and one sister.

You’re taking Roller Coaster Physics: do you like roller coasters?
They’re terrible — I hate them. I’ve never been on one! But I like the physics behind it.