“It’s great to be around other people that understand what you’re going through.” ~Summer 2021 Camper
“It’s a place to flush all our worries down the drain. We didn’t have to worry about them at all.” ~Summer 2021 Camper
The quotes above are from students who attended S.O.A.R. Camp 2021. S.O.A.R (Summer Opportunity with Advanced Rigor) Camp, a summer camp open to gifted students from all over Wisconsin who recently finished fourth thru ninth grade, is run by Cathy Schmit, WATG’s outgoing president. Cathy does an amazing job with all of the gifted students at camp. She allows them to feel safe just being themselves while having fun and learning new things, taking risks, and growing in confidence.
One of the great things about S.O.A.R. is the students get to meet other gifted students and make lasting friendships. When asked about their favorite part of camp, one camper said, “I’m finally around people who get me.” Another camper responded saying, “Other people understand me, and we can agree on things.” It is always great to see the kids exchange phone numbers and email addresses on the last day of camp, and then hearing about the connections that continue long after they return home.
“I think what makes this camp so special is that it allows kids with such awesome talents and gifts to have perspectives that they wouldn’t otherwise have without meeting peers like them.” ~Waypost Camp Counselor
“My favorite part about S.O.A.R. Camp is getting to see all of the campers interact with each other. It seems like sometimes they don’t always get that at home or at school, so it’s really fun for them to be able to interact with each other and show off their talents and their skills.” ~Waypost Camp Counselor
Throughout the week at camp, students participate in camp activities such as campfires, cookouts, swimming, challenge courses, and team building. They also go to different stations where they participate in hands-on activities. These activities include archery, archeology, debates, poi, slack ropes, dissembling appliances and creating new inventions with them, improvisation, and so much more!
Cathy also offers self-advocacy training for the campers. At this time, in small groups, they discuss the gripes about being gifted. One camper remarked, “this is really therapeutic.” They talk about how to respectfully advocate for themselves within the classroom in order to help ease those gripes.
Another thing Cathy discusses with the students is the overexcitabilities of gifted people. These overexcitabilies can include things such as having trouble turning your brain off to go to sleep, being unable to sit still, always having to do something with your hands, being very emotional, worrying about world problems, and more. After having this in-depth discussion with one of the groups, a student left there saying, “I finally understand…I’m normal!”
Overall, Cathy Schmit offers, (along with many other outstanding volunteers and counselors), a great camp for gifted students. This is a place to learn more about being gifted and authentic, as well as to participate in various activities, take educational risks, and meet new friends who share your interests and intensities. If you’re interested in learning more about S.O.A.R. Camp, go to their website at https://chancetosoar.com/.
In the words of one camper, who sums it up for so many campers… “We love this camp, and we love you, Cathy!” ~Summer 2021 Camper
Stacy Novak, WATG Board Member
Student and Parent Voices
Hear from and about gifted and talented students and parents across the state Wisconsin.