Closing time: We hope you have found a friend

VAMPY campers took the time to let it all soak in at the end of classes on Friday, July 7. For some, this traditional splash through the fountain outside the Commons at Helm Library marked the end of a three-week stay at WKU. For others, it marked the end of their summers here with The Center for Gifted Studies.

When checking in with their counselors, campers provided interesting reasons as to how they got so wet returning from class. Although the weather appeared sunny and clear to most observers, “spontaneous thunderstorms” and the rarely seen “upside down storm” apparently were to blame. (It is curious that some returning campers just happened to come prepared with swim masks.)

After taking time to dry off and change, campers headed to the Martens Alumni Center for the end of camp banquet. Each year, all rising 11th graders are invited to make a speech about their time at camp, whether this summer was their first or one of many.

Carmen Tate, the last of four siblings to attend VAMPY, said she had her doubts when she first arrived at Florence Schneider Hall even after seeing her brothers off to camp for years. “I was so scared I wouldn’t make any friends or find like-minded people,” she said. “I never would have imagined how much love I would feel now for a group of nerds.”

During her three years at VAMPY, Carmen noted that she learned a lot about history (Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Pop Culture) and science (DNA and Genetics), but what she valued just as much what she learned outside the classroom.

“Overall this camp has taught me so much about myself,” Carmen said. “I’ve always doubted myself and thought that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or talented enough, but each time I come to this place I realize, number one, I am good enough, and number two, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re being true to yourself, rhat is all that matters.”

Traditions continued with a dance and late-night pizza party on the lawn, and some early risers greeted the sunrise hours before checkout. By 11 a.m., the campers and their families had departed, and Florence Schneider Hall was quiet once more.

Please check out our Flickr page to view albums from throughout VAMPY:

Ready to start your countdown for next summer? VAMPY 2024 will be June 16-July 6. Hope to see you here!