So, who went to nerd camp?

There’s an article in Slate’s camping issue on gifted and talented camps, you know, where instead of canoeing you cram a semester’s worth of study into three weeks. The author went to CTY; I went to Duke’s TIP program. I think they were probably pretty similar - I went for the four years that were then available (I think now they have programs for much younger students) and took Satire, Chinese, Psychology Myth and Literature, and Film and Video.

We also had Mandantory Fun - once square dancing, once African dance, and I forget the other two. We had Quadfest, sort of like a nerd Olympics, and a talent show, and dances, and an Ultimate Frisbee tournament (for some reason the hardcore math kids always seemed to win it, while my classes always sucked donkey balls - probably partly because I was in them,) all that sort of thing. We had class for something like seven hours a day, but honestly it was tons and tons of fun.

Really, it was probably the first place I ever went where I felt like I fit in, but on the other hand I was suddenly a much smaller fish in a very different pond. Overall a really, really weird experience. Who else went to nerd camp? CTY, TIP, Governor’s School? I’m sure there’s something on the West Coast, right?

I tried to get in, multiple times. But I was deemed too cool.

So I went to orchestra camp instead. :wink:

The summer after my freshman year, I went to a weeklong computer camp at Transylvania University. I don’t remember much about it, except that I met a girl that I would maintain a long-distance relationship with for most of high school.

After my sophomore year I did summer school at Phillips Exeter Academy. My parents were talking about sending me there for my last year of high school, but I vetoed. Great summer, though.

After my junior year I spent three weeks at a summer program for budding engineers, at which I decided definitively that I did not want to be an engineer. I was home for two days, and spent the next five weeks at the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program at Centre College.

So yeah, I did a few.

State nerd camp. It was the first place I felt like I fit in as well, and it got me interested in staying in school. I later worked for a sister nerd camp for 4 summers. Now I am employed at a unversity, which in some ways is like year-round nerd camp. And I hang out here, which is like electro-cyber-virtual nerd camp.

I went to CTY for five years. It was the first place where I actually felt like I fit in.

I used to belong to a high school debate team that competed nationally (you had to win a certain number of tournaments in “novice” year to even qualify for varsity) and we were pretty much required to go to certain debate camps during the summer if we wanted to be on varsity. So I did, several years in high school. I spent 2 summers at the University of Michigan and then another at Northwestern doing research for the following year’s topic.

I went to Overachiever Academy for high school, though, so most of my classmates were doing something to set up their eventual acceptance to MIT or similar educational institution…so fortunately I escaped the whole social pariah bit because their summers were spent nerding out too, in some way or the other. Actually, Northwestern’s cherubs programs used to cover a variety of subject areas so I ran into most of my fellow classmates the summer that I spent there.

I did. Nerd day camp when I was little, you know science and creative writing, along with art and athletic games. I also did a program at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where I synthesized aspirin. Ah, those first, formative chemistry experiences. I also went to summer school in high school. Great fun.

I did.

Loads of classes at the local museum of natural science and history as a wee elementary schooler. (DINOSAURS! RAR!)

Later on, my parents shipped me off to this molecular biology camp at… I think it was ISU.

Then lots and lots of SAT camps. groan

I’m a proud veteran of Nerd Camp. Three years of Western Kentucky Univesity’s VAMPY (The summer program for Verbally and Mathematically Precocious Youth or Vicious And Malicious Psychotic Youth, depending on who you ask) and a year of Governor’s School. Plus two years of quiz bowl camp, for a grand total of 16 weeks of Nerd Camp.

VAMPY was, without question, the coolest thing ever. Three weeks of physics/math/programming, Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, listening to ITEOTWAWKI(AIFF), punnery, being forced to go to the theater an making MST3K remarks to each other, and just reveling in the fact that we were dorks and we were awesome. And in one three week period, I learned enough math that my high school let me skip Geometry and PreCalculus.

Kentucky Governor’s School was fun, but not the same. Pretty much every college in KY gives a full scholarship to anyone who completes the program, so everyone applies instead of just the nerds. Of course, some of them lose that scholarship two semesters into their college career for no good reason. Stupid physics 299.

Quiz bowl camp was something else. You only go if you really want to be damn good at quiz bowl. A day looks like this: wake up, shower, eat, 4 hours of class, eat, 4 hours of competition, eat, study, sleep. Not much room in there for goofing off, but it’s still fun to be with other quiz bowl ubernerds for a week.


No other TIPsters? So sad. Basset for fourth-years!

CTY for two years (Creative writing and Literature and the Arts), which was great. First place I really fit in, and all that. Then for the previous two years, Chemistry Olympiad study camp, which was less fun (obviously, since it was a competition).

I did a computer camp at UC Irvine for two summers when I was in high school. We lived in Ottawa, Canada. My parents had far too much disposable income in those days. :stuck_out_tongue:

CTY Young Students Program, Goucher 1994, second session I think. Aced the PLUS test and took Mathematical Reasoning, which was about general math skills as opposed to Math Sequence where you went through a school-year of math. My folks figured I was already going to start algebra in the 7th grade so skipping a year after 5th grade was too much. My teacher happened to be the head coach for the US Int’l Math Olympiad team. He wanted me to try out when I was 16 but I never did.

I can’t say I fit in. The academics were fantastic but I was picked on, I was no good at any of the sports activities, and I spent the first dance in the other room where the losers watched “Big” while the other guys danced with girls.

One thing about CTY is you’re cut off a bit from the world. There was snail mail, and phone calls at designated times, and that’s it. No magazines or newspapers, and no radio or TV, except for the time the TA snuck us into the lounge to watch one episode of Anamaniacs. I hear the same goes with the Internet now. It’s different and I kind of liked it, except I wanted to watch the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.

For those who don’t know or are searching the board in the future (how’d that Lebanon thing turn out?) CTY is the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

And we were singin’
Bye, bye, CTY
Oh I went to Van Meter but Van Meter was locked
and all the staff was drinking pink lemonade,
sayin’ this’ll be the day I get paid.

The VAMPY version:

And they were singin’
Bye, bye, to my TA says I
The elevator? Maybe later but please don’t ask me why.
Get to your floors, it’s already time
Or Hank is gonna get ya, they cry