Butler University will host several new youth summer camps this year, thanks in large part to a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Weeklong residential camps, one-week day camps, and four-week day camps will all be offered through Butler BOOST, an initiative designed to prepare Indiana youth for success in postsecondary education and careers through meaningful camp experiences.
Butler’s summer camps are mainly geared for high school students with interests spanning sciences and technology, performing arts, and liberal arts. Scholarships covering camp costs are available for many students.
The three main camp formats are:
Residential Camp (one-week residential camp): A new one-week Residential Summer Camp called BU: BeReal is offered for rising high school freshmen through seniors. One hundred students will be accepted per camp, and need-based scholarships covering 100 percent of the camp costs are available for qualified students. This Residential Camp is designed to immerse students in college culture and life, and exposes them to leadership, various career options, and postsecondary educational support. Potential wrap-around services for students who attend Butler’s Residential Camp will include: identifying appropriate college programs related to their careers of interest; submitting college, scholarship, and financial aid applications; managing the social and emotional transition from high school to postsecondary life; and connecting students to Indiana’s postsecondary resources.
Explorer Camp (one-week day camp): Day campers will be exposed to career pathways and skills integrated throughout these one-week experiences. This summer, participants will have the opportunity to pick from the following offerings: Pharmacy Camp; Butler Way Leadership Camp; Theatre Performance Camp; Theatre Tech Camp; and Arts 2.0 Camp. Scholarships will be available for select participants. For future summers, Butler is looking to grow the Explorer Camp offerings that could include Journalism, Sports Media, Drone Videography, and Web Design.
Catapult Camp (four-week day camp in partnership with Nextech): Catapult is a fully immersive computer science program for all high school students in Marion County and the Evansville area who aspire to a career in technology. Taking place across a
four-week period, Catapult is taught by a licensed Indiana computer science teacher. Participants develop technical skills, create authentic peer relationships, improve workplace readiness, create plans for postsecondary success, and build deep roots for a lifelong personal and professional connection to Indiana. Nextech has partnered with best-in-class community organizations and industry volunteers to facilitate a series of learning experiences to ensure all Catapult participants develop a strong foundation of skills needed to succeed in college, career, and life. All the slots for Summer 2023 have been filled, but applications are being accepted for interested participants for Summer 2024.
“I’m excited to see students in their element pursuing their passions,” Jessica Stoltzfus, Associate Director of Camps Administration, said. “When you see 90 kids performing together on-stage, it’s pure magic. Through these camps, students will explore and cultivate their leadership style and voice. I’m excited to see these incredible students navigate their passions and careers, all while displaying their unique personalities.”
Lilly Endowment Inc. and Butler hope that, through these camps, more high school students will choose to enroll in college upon graduation. In 2015, 65 percent of Indiana high school graduates were going straight to college. The college-going rate has dropped steadily since. In 2020, only 53 percent of Hoosiers were attending college the year after high school.
“The grant money from Lilly Endowment not only helps us cover expenses for the camps, it also allows us to offer need-based scholarships to local high school students,” Stoltzfus said. “Butler is committed to equity and access, and these funds allow us to address the financial barrier of access to Butler camps. It’s an initial step towards creating more equitable summer experiences for youth, and towards increased access to Butler and college in general.”