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Camp Launch

Camp Launch Mission Statement
We exist to address the academic and social needs of high-ability students from low-income households. We do this by providing high-quality educational and recreational activities for the students involved in our program. The staff of Camp Launch is driven by a desire to foster a collaborative, respectful environment for students in order to help them grow and reach their potential.

Camp Launch Values

  • Academic Development
  • Enrichment
  • Future Orientation
  • Identity Development
  • Social Understanding

Program Description
Camp Launch is a two-week summer camp for rising seventh- through tenth-grade high-ability students from low-income households. Students will have the opportunity to take classes that are based upon science and writing curriculum units geared toward this population of students.

Camp Launch was named to reflect the emphasis on changing the lives of high-ability, low-income children by providing opportunities that could launch them on an educational and career trajectory leading them into a bright, successful future. The major aspirations of the Center for Gifted Education are to provide the campers with a vision for the future that extends beyond the world the children know and to instill a love of learning in the campers. Camp Launch has four goals:  

  1. to deliver rigorous academic courses in STEM, writing, academic self-efficacy, and other areas of personal development;

  2. to provide enrichment opportunities in a wider variety of content areas;

  3. to encourage the development of peer support networks; and

  4. to develop in campers a future orientation that includes a college education, along with preparation that will help them take advantage of enabling opportunities to achieve that goal.

Enrolling Your Child
In order to apply for Camp Launch, students must meet the eligibility requirements listed below. Once a student is selected; and upon approval from the parent, students will be registered for Camp Launch. If you feel your student qualifies for Camp Launch please email for an application.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The student's family income may not exceed the 185% income level of the 2022 US HHS Poverty Guidelines (eligibility chart).  Annual incomes must be verified by the head of household's most recent federal tax return.
  • Students must meet the following academic eligibility:
    • Standardized test scores at the 90th percentile or better in at least one of the test subscales, or
    • Recommendation accompanied by evidence of performance.
  • Students must be rising 7th or 8th graders in the summer of 2024.

Pick-Up Procedure
Camp Launch discourages parents/guardians from picking their children up from camp, except in the case of an emergency. We want each child to experience the entire camp session and to build long-lasting relationships with fellow campers. In the case that a child must be picked up, the parent/guardian must present the Program Director with government-issued identification. Only people on the pick-up form will be able to take a student off campus.

Children with Disabilities
If a child with special needs is selected to participate in Camp Launch, the Program Director will work with parents in order to determine accommodations or special services needed for the student. Camp Launch is an equal opportunity program, and students will not be eliminated due to special needs.

Outdoor Play
During the course of Camp Launch, students will have multiple opportunities to participate in outdoor sports and other activities. Students are expected to follow all rules provided by the Camp Launch staff.

Field Trip Policy
We enjoy giving children the opportunity to learn new things by providing them exciting field trips. During the weekend in the middle of the program, students will have the opportunity to leave campus (e.g., a trip to Colonial Williamsburg). Your permission for your child to participate is a part of your enrollment agreement., and you will be notified in advance of all scheduled trips. Camp Launch staff will supervise students on all field trips.

Meals and Snacks
Camp Launch campers and staff will be eating their meals at the campus dining hall. Any dietary restrictions should be made known to Camp Launch staff immediately for accommodations to be made. Students can bring snacks with them to eat during their free time; however, they will not have an opportunity to buy snacks or other food during the week.

TV and Electronics
While participating in Camp Launch, students will have limited or no access to TV. The use of electronics is limited to free time.

Weapons Ban

Families, legal guardians, guests, staff, and campers are prohibited from possessing firearms or other weapons during the duration of Camp Launch. Any student found with a weapon will be reported to the authorities and immediately removed from the program.

Personal Belongings

Any personal belongings brought to Camp Launch are the responsibility of the students. Camp Launch is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items. Students are encouraged to leave any valuable items at home. In the case that an item is found by a Camp Launch employee, it will be kept at the Center for Gifted Education for up to 30 days. If the item(s) is not claimed within that time, the item(s) will be donated to charity.

Cell Phone Usage

Students will be permitted to bring the cell phones to camp.  They will only be permitted to use their phones after the days activities are complete.  During the day, the phones will be stored in a locked cell phone storage unit. Each night the student will sign their phone out of and back into the lock box.  This process will be monitored by Camp Launch Staff.  If a student does not return their phone to the lockbox, their phone will be confiscated for the remainder of the camp.

Children who become ill with a contagious disease or fever may be sent home. Parents/guardians will be called in case this happens. Any children experiencing the following symptoms will be monitored and may be sent home:

  • a fever of 100 oF or higher,
  • contagious skin or eye infection,
  • diarrhea for three days or more,
  • vomiting, and/or
  • profuse bodily discharge of any kind.

State law requires that we notify families of children who become exposed to certain contagious diseases. This notification will be done through a phone call.

Camp Launch staff (teachers, assistants, counselors, and administrators) may not administer any kind of medication to the students, except in the case of an emergency Epipen administration for students with extreme allergies and when necessary on weekend trips. If a child needs any type of medication during program hours, the nurse will administer it.

Permission for Emergency Medical Treatment
For the safety of your child, each student must have an individual health form and pick-up form on file; therefore, please make sure that we have a copy on file with your child’s most recent health information. Any medical emergencies will be taken to the Sentara Hospital emergency room, and parents will be contacted immediately.

Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
100 Sentara Circle
Williamsburg, VA 23188
Phone: 757-984-6000
Emergency Department: 757-984-7111

Discipline Policy
The expectation is that students will take responsibility for their own behavior and act appropriately during class and activities to foster a positive learning environment for all students. As part of supporting your son/daughter, staff will make every effort to deal with any behavioral issues using positive approaches and the least restrictive intervention. With the understanding that some campers may have extreme difficulty managing their behavior, our commitment is to work with them to overcome challenges and to respond appropriately to different situations. If a student becomes disruptive, a warning will be given to the student and to the parents. If the inappropriate behavior continues, the child will be removed from the problem area (e.g., class, enrichment session, evening activity) for one period and will speak with the Program Director. If the problem persists, the student will speak with the Executive Director and may be removed from the program.

Natural Disasters and Emergency Closure
In the event of a natural disaster, our staff will follow the natural disaster protocol of William & Mary. If an emergency should arise, parents and guardians will be contacted immediately. 

Emergency Notification
Health forms and emergency contact information will be kept on site. In case of illness or injury, the Program Director will contact the parent/guardian of the student. If the parent/guardian is unavailable, the emergency contacts will be notified. If any information changes during the course of the two-week program, parents should make the Camp Launch staff aware.

Research Activities
The Center for Gifted Education will be conducting research on a variety of topics. Any research activities must be approved by parents and will be described in full to your satisfaction. You will receive permission forms and project descriptions by mail prior to camp check-in.