More than 540 talented and gifted sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders have been selected to attend Ohio Wesleyan University’s 35th annual “OWjL” summer camp.

They will spend a week creating video games, learning to dance, surviving their own “Hunger Games,” making slime, and participating in other enlightening classes and events, says Susan Paxton, executive director of the residential, academic camp. They will learn another vital lesson, she said.

“They’ll learn it’s OK to be smart,” Paxton said, explaining that many of the students will never before have visited a college campus, taken accelerated classes, and been surrounded by peers deemed to be some of the most academically advanced middle-schoolers in the nation.

While living on the Ohio Wesleyan campus, the OWjL campers will choose from among some 70 classes designed to challenge their skills in the creative arts and humanities as well as in science, mathematics and computers/logic.

Pronounced “owl,” the camp’s acronym stands for Ohio Wesleyan/Junior League of Columbus, which founded the program 35 years ago. Ohio Wesleyan is the camp’s sponsor. This year’s three week-long sessions run from June 12-17 (grades 6 and 7), June 19-24 (grades 7 and 8), and June 26-July 1 (grades 6 and 7).

Students invited to attend OWjL camp are nominated by principals, guidance counselors or teachers from schools in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties. The students all have earned high test scores and demonstrated exceptional talent, creativity and/or leadership. In addition to being nominated, the students must write an essay, which is read and scored by two readers, as part of the competitive selection process.

OWjL teachers include university professors, national board-certified secondary school teachers, teachers of gifted and talented students, and other experts in their fields. The counselors are students from Ohio Wesleyan and other colleges and universities, including former OWjL campers.

Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by Ohio Wesleyan University.