Frequently Asked Questions
What are the drop-off and pick-up times for campers?
Monday: 7:30 AM registration & 5:30 PM pick-up on Pew Campus
Tuesday & Wednesday: 7:45 AM drop-off & 5:30 PM pick-up on Pew Campus
Thursday: 7:45 AM drop-off on Pew Campus. Pick-up at Warped Wings Fly Field in Allendale. Campers will be released to their parents after they have completed their airplane flight, which will be before 8:30 PM. Parents and immediate family members are invited to join us for our Fly Night celebration at 5:30 PM. Campers will arrive to the Fly Field in Allendale via school bus by 5:30 PM. There will be a light dinner, graduation ceremony, and then the campers will fly their planes.
What is Fly Night?
Fly Night is our graduation ceremony for STEPS, which happens on Thursday evening. Immediate family members are invited to attend our Fly Night ceremonies at the Warped Wings Fly Field in Allendale. We start with a light dinner, a brief presentation, graduation ceremony, and then the campers get to fly their planes! After the campers fly their planes, our staff will convert their plane into an unpowered glider so that it can be taken home. The Warped Wings Fly Field is actually a manicured hay field out in Allendale. We encourage families to bring folding chairs, sun block, sun glasses, hats, and bug spray. We also tell the campers to pack an extra layer in case it gets chilly.
After the registration fee, what are the additional costs of camp?
None! The registration fee covers all curriculum materials including the airplane glider, two camp t-shirts, daily lunch, two daily snacks, a water bottle, a back pack, a notebook and writing materials, and all activity fees.
What happens in inclement weather?
Some of the STEPS activities do happen outside, so our staff watches the radar and weather reporting closely. We have back-up activities planned if the weather does not allow us to follow our normal schedule. In the past, back-up activities have included bowling, movies, and roller skating. In the event that we have to go to a back-up plan, someone from the staff will e-mail the parents to let them know of the changes.
Why are there age restrictions and a lottery selection process?
STEPS Camp was developed as an intervention to middle school students abandoning STEM classes in school. So our funding for STEPS requires us to focus on a specific demographic of students age 11-13, typically entering the 7th grade. The lottery format for camper selection was adopted to encourage diversity in the camp roster. As long as the camper meets the age and grade requirements, and is endorsed by a school teacher, they can apply.
What do the campers do all day?
Our schedule is very busy. A major component of STEPS Camp is each camper building their own radio controlled airplane. We dedicate two half days to airplane construction. The campers also have enrichment classes in aerodynamics, renewable energy, biomedical engineering, impromptu design, computer aided drafting & 3D printing, Arduino, flight simulator, FIRST robotics, and leadership training. The camp also goes on field trips to a corporate hangar, a STEM charter high school, an executive airstrip, and a manufacturing facility that makes turbine engine blades through the process of investment casting.
Who makes up the staff?
STEPS Camp activities are led by the Director, an Assistant to the Director, two Lead Teachers, a Lead Technician, a Student Technician, eight counselors, and a staff photographer. The camp counselors are all GVSU students pursuing a degree in a STEM, Education, or Social Work field. The camp also uses about 100 volunteers. Volunteers are GVSU faculty and staff, corporate volunteers, engineering students, and members from our partner organization, Warped Wings R/C Club. GVSU enforces strict protocol for all volunteers working with the University.
How is transportation arranged for field trips?
STEPS contracts with Allendale Public Schools for all field trip transportation. The entire group rides together in a big yellow school bus to all of our activities.