Bellarmine has offered summer youth programs since the early 1990s, but the success of Camp Valor Summer 2023 was better than Abigail Walsh, director of Continuing Education, could have imagined. “We had an amazing group of campers who came each
week excited to try new things, find their creativity and create an awesome classroom atmosphere.”
From June 5 through July 28, Bellarmine offered 96 camp sessions in various subjects and hosted 1,130 campers from Pre-K to high school.
“I think the biggest benefit is our unique camp program, where there is something for everyone,” Walsh said. “When you have ages 4 through 18 participating in camps in all different areas—test prep and study skills, tech, creative
arts, and humanities, science and math, and leisure—your child is sure to receive an enriching experience that gets them out of the house and allows them to use their brain."
For 12-year-old camper Trinity, Camp Valor offered a combination of creativity and skill development activities. “Mr. Wolken’s Handheld Game Console camp allowed me to use my imagination while learning new skills to code and create my
own video games. I wish we could do activities like this in school!”
Many instructors who make these experiences possible have long participated in the program. “They give up their summer to teach in the Camp Valor program after spending the whole year in the classroom because they love the campers attracted to our
camps,” Walsh said.
For instructor, Tom Wolken, Camp Valor is an opportunity to share new ideas and propose personally interesting sessions. “I started by teaching a single camp for a week,” he said. “Now I teach six different camps over seven weeks, and
I'm already planning for next summer.”
Longtime drama camp instructor George Halitzka admits he gets as excited as the campers about putting on a play in a week. “Camp season at Bellarmine is one of my favorite times of the year,” he said. “Sharing my passion for the arts—and
hopefully, igniting students' passion for the arts—makes summer camps a rich experience for me as a theatre educator.”
Registration for Camp Valor
opens in March, with tuition covering all materials and Camp
Valor swag: T-shirt, water bottle and stickers. There is also a lunch option at the University Dining Hall for campers who attend both morning and afternoon camp. “Campers love being on a college campus and eating in the dining hall,”
Walsh said. “When sessions end, we love to hear, ‘I am going to be a Knight one day.’”