Gifted Education

Summer Opportunities for Students

Following are a number of summer programs that may appeal to students with a variety of interests and needs.

Summer Programs in Lincoln

4-H Summer Camps and Trips: Whether students want to learn robotics, camping skills, kayaking, 4-H has a camp for it. With such diverse offerings as Aquatic Skills, Boldly Bound & Beyond (zip lines, high wires, climbing walls, and more), Sky’s the Limit (which includes a night spent at the Strategic Air Command Museum), Veterinary Science, and Outdoor Skills, students are likely to find something appealing that will enable them to spend time outdoors while learning skills. Nebraska 4-H camps are located in Gretna, Halsey, and Alma; the 4-H summer programs are open to all youth, whether they are members of 4-H or not. Sessions begin in mid-June, and they are ongoing through mid-August. Camps range in length from 3 to 7 days depending upon the age of the child (ages 5-18). For more information, call 402-472-1710. For older students, volunteer positions exist.

Advanced Scholars Program: High School students are are interested in taking online college courses over the summer have an online option through the Advanced Scholars Program at UNL. Students have the opportunity to learn from outstanding UNL faculty, gain college credit prior to arriving on campus and “preview” the college experience—all at a reduced tuition rate of $300 per 3-credit course. This summer’s offerings include Introduction to Sociology and Fundamentals in Communication. Both would serve as general education courses for university study. Courses begin May 17 and end July 9.

Architecture & Interior Design Career Exploration, sponsored by the UNL Department of Architecture, enables students in high school to investigate issues surrounding design and learn more about the design professions of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design.

Big Red Summer Academic Camps: Held at UNL, these career exploration camps allow students in grades 9-12 to immerse themselves in a specific topic such as movie making, fashion design, golf, culinology, horsemanship and many others; the camp culminates with a capstone event in which the student can showcase his or her work. These are residence camps, which provide housing and food for all participates. The fees range from $200-475 depending upon the camp chosen.

Bright Lights: Serving elementary and middle school students in Lincoln, Bright Lights offers five weeks of half-day classes and full-day camps in the summer. Hands-on classes cover a variety of fun, unique and engaging topics. Educational activities are provided in intensive, three-hour blocks of time, allowing students to pursue focused interests beyond the traditional classroom. Most classes take place at Holmes Elementary School, and buses transportation is available from select school sites. Applications accepted for need-based scholarships. Class schedule is available in early March at BrightLights.org. Registration begins April 1.

Dimensions Summer Discovery Days, located at First Plymouth Congregational Church, provides week-long sessions with new themes each week for students in preschool to grade 4. Sessions run as half-day or whole day sessions. For additional information, call 402-476-8304.

Economics Is Everywhere! Camp: Hosted by the UNL Center for Economic Education, this camp is open to students who are post-6th to post-8th grades. The Economics camps takes students on a one-week journey into the exciting world of economics as it relates to personal spending and investing, the business of movies and music, government, the global economy, and sports. Each day includes an array of activities, speakers and field trips designed to increase understanding of how economics touches our lives. The $225 fee includes field trips, materials, lunches,  snacks, and a t-shirt. Contact Dr. Tammie Fischer, Director, UNL Center for Economic Education, 472-2333, tfischer1@unl.edu or go to the web site: http://nebraskacouncil.unl.edu/unl

Folsom Children’s Zoo: A number of classes and camps for children exist. Classes extend from preschool to age 12 and include a variety of topics: pony clinics, photography, zoologist club, and much more. Both half-and full-day options exist. The zoo crew offers the opportunity to help others enjoy their zoo experience. Visit the web site or  call 402-475-6741, ext. 130.

Haymarket Theatre  offers one- and three-week camps for ages 6-18. Participants will involve themselves in full-scale productions. For more information, call 402-477-2600 or haymarkettheatre.org.

Lincoln Children’s Museum Think Factory provides weekly themed camps for preschool through elementary levels. Discounts available for early registration. Topics range from sleuthing to cooking and other focus areas, and group sizes are small. The curriculum includes an orientation to small and large group activities, choices, and open-ended activities. Walking field trips may be included. For more information, call 402-477-4000 ext. 117.

Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company offers a two-week intensive camp that enables dancers to cultivate their ballet skills while spending time with other high-level dancers seeking to take their artistry to the next level. Auditions occur in spring. For more information, call 402–477–8446.

Lincoln Parks and Recreation “FUNdamental Healthy Me” Day Camps focus on health, nutrition, nature and fitness, and are designed to help young people experience healthier lifestyle choices through fun recreation day camp activities. Camps are held in a variety of locations, based on age (completed grades K-7). Need-based scholarships are available.

Lincoln Public Libraries offer teens of all ages  and abilities volunteer opportunities:

  • Students who need to fulfill citizenship issues credit for graduation can volunteer with various departments and branches of Lincoln City Libraries. See your high school for details.
  • Students in grades 6-12 who are interested in a long-term assignment lending their time and talents to benefit their neighborhood are encouraged to contact their local library about the Youth Volunteer Program. The purpose of this program is to provide the library with assistance while teaching youth basic library skills and giving them an active role in their community. Tasks vary from organizing materials to helping with bulletin board to reading and reviewing materials.
  • Interested teens can also participate in a dialogue with library staff concerning library programs and services for their age group. Contact your library for more information. To volunteer, contact Outreach Services at 402-441-8546 or call the library of your choice for more information.

LUX Center for the Arts: The LUX Center for the Arts offers a variety of classes and camps for students beginning at age 5 through high school. Topics include pottery, ceramics, glass, drawing and mixed media. For more information, call 402) 466-8692.

Nebraska Writing Project Workshops and Camps: We Love to Write Workshops at UNL provide two-hour workshops each day for students in grades 2-5, 6-7, and family writing for children and adults in the evening. The Young Writers Camp is three hours daily for students in  grades 9-12. Scholarships are available.  Apply at unl.edu/newp/home or email swaite2@unl.edu.

Nebraska Wesleyan University Choral Camps: Students  ages 10-16 are selected based on teacher recommendation and musicianship for a one-week camp. Talented young singers will have the opportunity to improve their vocal and musical skills, meet other student musicians. Enrollment is limited. For students ages 15 and up, Nebraska Wesleyan offers the Workshop for the High School Solo Singer, a three-day intensive workshop that focuses on  the healthy development of the voice, as well as performance practices. Information is available at  waw@nebrwesleyan.edu or call 402-465-2288.

Pioneers Park Nature Center: Various classes exist for all ages and all abilities, as well as guided hikes, activities, demonstration, classes, and winter camps. All programs have a common theme of interpreting natural history of the Central Great Plains. In addition, summer camp programs focus primarily on 6 to 12 year olds, and junior counselor positions are available for 13 and 14 year olds. All camps focus on environmental education, using hands-on activities led by trained staff. Registration begins March 1 and continues throughout the summer. The mission of Pioneers Park Nature Center is to interpret the natural history of Nebraska and the Central Great Plains; to promote the enjoyment, appreciation, and awareness of our natural environment; to practice and foster a conservation ethic; and to provide a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful retreat for people. Call Nancy Furman, Coordinator, for more information: 402-441-7895.

SAIL Camp is a strings day camp for elementary and middle school students that provides opportunities for students to learn how to play a stringed instrument, expand their current stringed instrument knowledge, and perform with a large string ensemble. Beginning and advanced levels are available. More information is available at 402-423-5343.

Southeast Community College Child Development Center Summer Camps: Each week focuses on a different theme for children 6-11 years of age during the weeks that LPS is out of school for the summer. Camps include activities, games, and field trips.  Information is available at 402-437-2450 or 800-642-4075.

The Strategic Air and Space Museum has an opportunity to provide some fun, educational summer camps for your students.

  • Weekend Flight Camp:
    Clear the runway for takeoff as you jet into the greatest camp experience available for the aspiring aviator! You’ll get to fly in a real single-engine aircraft!
  • Mad Scientist Academy:
    Get in on the secrets of how the world works. You’ll be blown away by what you find!
  • Resident Flight Camp:
    Soar into excitement with aviator challenges and experience a breathtaking adventure in a high-flying private jet!
  • Astronaut Academy:
    Get your astronaut training! SCUBA diving, robotics lab, observatory, planetarium, and ropes challenge course!

Spark: With a staff that’s fueled by fun and exploration, the new Spark Summer Learning program brings energy and excitement to STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, art and math). For ten weeks, your child will dive into new discoveries (and new pools), get their hands dirty, and see how fun learning can be with activities that include:

  • Science: Meet animals nose-to-nose.
  • Technology: Bring creations to life with 3D printing. ‘
  • Engineering: Build towering sculptures and test their strength.
  • Art: Design and screen print a one-of-a-kind shirt.
  • Math: Explore real-world math in unexpected ways. 

Summer Technology Program: The Lincoln Public Schools Summer Technology Program is provided for students entering grades 5 through 9 in the fall of 2015. The goal of the program is to provide upper elementary and middle-level students a fun, exciting, and challenging opportunity to explore their interest in computers and technology. Sessions last one week and consist of 15 hours during either morning or afternoon. Some scholarships available for free/reduced lunch qualifiers. Registration opens March 30. For questions, call 402-436-1776.

Summer Theatre Arts Academy (TAA) offers two 2-week programs in the summer for ages 7-18. Participants learn acting, movement, and singing. Any student with an interest in theatre is eligible for this program, but auditions are held in spring.

The YMCA of Lincoln runs Camp Kitaki, which offers a wide variety of activities, including archery, a climbing tower, horseback riding, and a challenge course. Financial assistance may be available.

Youth Actors Academy of Lincoln serves students ages 6-17 in half- and full-day camps, each focusing on a particular play or production. Students explore their creativity through a variety of dramatic media and production techniques. Some camps require previous stage experience. For more information, call 402-417-4137.

UNL also has a terrific web site with a variety of opportunities (not all limited to summer) that you might find to be the perfect match for your child.

Summer Programs in Nebraska

The Ad Astra program at Creighton offers gifted youth in post-6th to 8th grades a week-long introduction to stimulating academic-based classes and social activities not usually encountered in the middle school experience. Ad Arete summer sessions are held for qualified students in grades 10-12. Courses vary from foreign languages to computer programming, the arts, and more. Visit the web site or call 402-280-2843.

Aim For The Stars Science and Math Camp, University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Durham Science Center Eight weeks of camp are offered throughout the summer for students between grades pre-fourth through pre-eighth. Sessions cover a variety of science topics and emphasize hands-on learning to excite students about math and science. See more details at the UNO web site: www.unomaha.edu/camps/ or contact kriegler@unomaha.edu. For information about camps for ninth graders call 402-554-4999 or 1-877-UNO-CAMP (866-2267).

The Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival (formerly the  Wind on the Buffalo Grass Summer Enrichment Camps) workshops are free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Please call the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise at 308-345-8122 or email CFEMcCook@mpcc.edu to register for these offerings.

Camp Kaneko in Omaha offers four-day camps for students ages 12-15 to learn about the principles and process of design. Camp focus areas include architecture, video game design, or 3D prototyping.

Camp Kitaki is a YMCA-operated residence camp for students ages 7-17. The camp offers multiple one-week sessions with a variety of programs including outdoor activities, swimming, horseback riding, team-building, leadership skills, crafts and games. For more information, call 402-434-9222.

Camp Shakespeare: Camp Shakespeare is two weeks of fun workshops, learning about sword fighting, wearing costumes, and acting, all while gaining hands-on experience performing the works of the world’s greatest playwright, William Shakespeare. The goal of Camp Shakespeare is to help kids shed the fear of Shakespeare’s text, and to discover the magic and fun of the Immortal Bard through performance. The camp is open to ages 8-18 and is housed at Creighton University Dept. of Fine Arts as part of Shakespeare on the Green, workshops and hands on experience.

Camp Summergold is a residential arts and sciences program for girls ages 12-17; it is housed at Doane College in Crete. Need-based scholarships are available, as well as discounts for attending with a friend. For more information on either of the camps, call 402-826-8612.

Educational Robotics Training: Two levels of robotics training are available this year, with beginners starting July 11. Those who have already had training begin July 12. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and registration (for either one or two people) is $250. Classes are held at ESU 3, 6949 S. 110th Street, Omaha.

The Central Honors Institute (CHI) is held at Central Community College  on its Columbus Campus in Columbus. CHI is a one-week residential academic camp for Nebraska students who have completed the sixth or seventh grades and have demonstrated academic accomplishments, leadership and maturity among their peers. Students must complete an application and submit a recommendation from a recent teacher or counselor to be eligible to attend the camp. CHI campers attend classes during the day, socialize with peers in the evenings and experience life on a community college campus, complete with dorm food and residence halls.

College for Kids: Metropolitan Community College offers a program for 7 weeks during the summer at 7 different locations in four counties. Five-day sessions are held at schools in Blair, Bennington, Millard, Gretna, Papillion, and on MCC Campuses. No classes are held the week of July 4th.  Each class is priced separately, so they may enroll for 1, 2, or 3 classes in any given week. The program is from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday through Friday each week, with 3, hour-long class periods in that time frame. The hour long classes are offered for 3 different age groups: 6-7 year olds, 8-9 year olds, and 10-11 year olds. There will be more than one class to choose from for each age group for each hour long time slot.

Crow Canyon Archaeological CenterLocated in just a few miles from Mesa Verde National Park, Crow Canyon allows school groups (grades 4-12) to experience archaeology in one- to five-day programs. For more information, call 800- 422-8975.

Fontenelle Forest Nature Discovery Day Camps provides science-based thematic learning through play. Camps rare divided by age group: Discoverers (preschool, ages 4-5), Adventurers (ages 5-8), and Explorers (ages 8-12) and provide learners such opportunities as canoeing  the Great Marsh, taking a low ropes course challenge, and  building a kit. For general inquiries, email dworacek@fontenelleforest.org.

The Humane Society of Nebraska Camp Kindness in Omaha offers a variety of summer camps for students between ages 6 and 13. Seniors (ages 10-13) meet in the morning. 8:30-noon, while juniors(ages 6-9) meet 1-4:30 p.m. Eight one-week sessions are available.

Joslyn Art Museum  art students ages 4-teens. Most camps meet Monday-Friday for one week. Financial assistance may be available.

Kamp Kambi: Henry Doorly Zoo offers a variety of zoo day camps and overnight camps for ages 5-13 and up.  Contact Education Office, (402) 733-8011, or 3701 So. 10th Street, Omaha, NE 68107.

Launch Leadership provides leadership opportunities for Nebraska students, grades 6-12. The 2015 program is housed at Wayne. Students spend five days and four nights grouped by age and experience focusing developing on leadership skills. Questions can be directed to 402.437.0011.

Nature Discovery Summer Day Camps: Fontenelle Forest welcomes you to a summer of discovery and learning in a place where the quiet wild of nature offers an unparalleled opportunity for your child to learn. Nature Discovery Day Camps feature science-based learning through play. Our staff is committed to providing your child with high quality, positive experiences. Whether your child canoes the Great Marsh, takes a low ropes course challenge or builds a kite, we’re sure that they will bring home memories and knowledge that will last a lifetime. Ages 4-14.

Nebraska Scholar’s Academy is a challenging and enriching residential camp in communications, math and science for incoming eighth graders.  Located at Hastings College, the week-long  program is a competitive one, requiring high ability students to meet entrance criteria. For more information, contact Linda Engel, 402-644-2500.

Nebraska Theatre Caravan/First State Summer Theatre Academy: Students have the opportunity to work with the professional actors and technicians of the Omaha Community Playhouse and the Playhouse’s professional touring wing, The Nebraska Theatre Caravan, and become part of an original production commissioned specifically for the First Stage Academy. For two weeks in the summer, students ages 12-18 will work intensively with theatre artists. Auditions normally are scheduled in April, and the Academy runs two weeks in June and two weeks in July. Applications are available in January. Direct questions to Greg Scheer at 402-553-4890 ext 114 or email at gscheer@omahaplayhouse.com.

Oxbox Animal Health Veterinary Camps: Held in various locations around Nebraska, these camps help children develop their passion for animals and veterinary science through hands-on activities involving live animals, crafts, and games. Campers should expect to learn about veterinary tools, x-rays, the skeletal system, the muscular system, and issues like animal over-population. They practice record-keeping and animal health exams, and may observe surgery. For questions, call 800-249-0366.

The Peter Kiewit Institute: This unique program is designed to provide rising high school juniors from throughout the region who excel in mathematics or science with a three-day developmental experience in information science, technology and engineering. Faculty from PKI will lead students in a variety of hands-on workshops focused on familiarizing them with a range of topics such as bridge construction, civil engineering, water supply/contamination,  and visual animation.  Thanks to a generous donation from the Holland Foundation there is no cost to students invited to attend.  Selection criterion is based upon academic achievement as well as community involvement, and leadership .  For more information contact (402) 554-3333.

PRAIRIE HILL NatureWorks Country Day Camps, offers nature-centered thematic camps for ages 3-6, 6-9, 10-12 12-15 on its historic farm, just seven miles south of Lincoln, Nebraska.  For more information, see the web site or call 402-438-6668.

Young Nebraska Scientist Summer Camps are week-long camps designed to provide hands-on experiences for students in 7th-8th or 9th-12th  grades who want to learn about science and interact with scientists. The various camps cost about $200-$250; scholarships may be available. A variety of topics are available across Nebraska; the web site provides details about each camp. Please note that each camp has different application deadlines.

Summer Programs outside Nebraska

Concordia Language Villages  provides cultural and language immersion programs. Located in a variety of towns in Northern Minnesota, these camps seek to create thoughtful and informed students who understand the impact of cultural understanding.

CY-TAG and Explorations! at Iowa State University: Cy-TAG is for 7th-11th grade and Explorations! is for 7-10th grades. The goal of the OPPTAG program is to match students with appropriate learning experiences and emphasize an approach to teaching that underscores strengths and encourages high achievement. Additionally, all programs offer extracurricular enrichment experiences that broaden students’ knowledge of the world. The program offers unique, flexible, and challenging academic experiences by incorporating hands-on experimentation as well as individual and collaborative projects. Iowa State also offers Adventures! for younger students, grades 2-6. It is a week-long program. Students become eligible by scoring in the 90th percentile on the ITBS or other grade-level achievement assessment. Contact OPPTAG at 800-262-3810.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation:

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation enables high-ability middle and high school students with financial need to realize their full academic potential. Through the Young Scholars Program, the Foundation has to date supported 600 students from across the nation, providing them with individualized educational advising combined with comprehensive financial support from the 8th grade through high school.

Beginning in the eighth grade, the Young Scholars Program, working through fourteen on-staff educational advisers, enables students to:

  • Participate in high-quality academic and extracurricular opportunities in their local community, on college campuses, and around the globe.
  • Develop the knowledge, talents, and leadership skills to be significant contributors to their field of interest and society at large.
  • Set and reach academic and talent goals that will prepare them to be competitive, well-informed applicants for our nation’s best colleges and universities.

Oxbridge Programs: Primarily for students in grades 10-12 (some for 8-9th graders), Oxbridge Programs provide summer
programs abroad at Oxford, Cambridge, & in Paris.

Summer Enrichment Program (SEP)Sponsored by the University of Northern Colorado, SEP selects students in grades 5-10 who would benefit from different educational programs. Some scholarships exist. For more information, call 970-351-2683.

Summer Institute for the Gifted: Summer Institute for the Gifted is the ultimate three-week academic, recreational, and social summer program for gifted students in grades K-11.  SIG offers eleven residential programs in seven states and six day programs in four states. Choose from over 50 challenging academic classes including Engineering in Action, Cosmic Collision, Mysteries in History, Crime Scene Investigation, Fencing with Foils, Broadway Beckons, and more. Residential programs are for grades 4-11. Summer day programs are for grades K-6. National Society for Gifted and Talented offers some scholarships for students who would like to defray their costs for attending Summer Institute for the GIfted (SIG).

University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center for Gifted EducationRanging from chess to foreign languages to Advanced Placement, the courses are recommended for students in grades 4 through 11.

Ventures Scholars Program at Grinnell College: The Honor Scholars Program in Mathematics and Science focuses its efforts on students of color in an intense laboratory experience. Students study question by gathering data, performing experiments, keeping records, and reporting on findings. Honor Shcoalrs will find small classes, state-of-the-art laboratories, and Grinnell College faculty members who closely supervise the work. Students take one laboratory course, one mathematics course, and one writing course during the month-long residential program. Students must be high school juniors with a demonstrated interest in the sciences and have completed Algebra II prior to their arrival on campus. Students must identify as African American, Latino, Asian, or Native American to be eligible. All students admitted to the program will be awarded a full scholarship to cover tuition, room, board, books, and transportation.

Western Kentucky University summer programs exist for a variety of ages and purposes, focusing on the needs of gifted youth, particularly those who are mathematically and verbally precocious.

Women’s Technology Program at MIT: MIT is seeking 60 female juniors to be selected for a summer program following their junior year. MIT is looking for females who love and excel at math and science; have little or not engineering or computer science background; would like to experience hands-on activities designing and building engineering projects; enjoy problem solving and collaborative learning; and want to spend 4 weeks challenging their minds, working intensely in an academic environment, and making friends from around the U.S. The application deadline is January 1, 2014.

Gifted Education at LPS

Supervisor: Dr. Joan Jacobs
ph. 436-1822
e-mail: jjacobs@lps.org