Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about STEPS Camp

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 -- middle school age.  Priority will be given to students that will be rising 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  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 an adult they can apply.  

The registration fee for STEPS Camp is $75. This fee will not be issued until campers are selected through the lottery. When campers are selected in the lottery, they will be given a deadline to pay the registration fee before another camper is selected from the waitlist. 

Please note we have scholarships available for campers who need financial assistance. Please email Sara Maas at [email protected] to be considered for a scholarship. 

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.  


Monday:  7:30 a.m. registration & 5:00 p.m. pick-up on Pew Campus

Tuesday & Wednesday:  7:45 a.m. drop-off & 5:00 p.m. pick-up on Pew Campus

Thursday:  7:45 a.m. 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 p.m.  Parents and immediate family members are invited to join us for our Fly Night celebration at 5:00 p.m.  Campers will arrive to the Fly Field in Allendale via school bus by 5:00 p.m. There will be a pizza dinner, graduation ceremony, and then the campers will fly their planes.  

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.  

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, and leadership training.  The camp also goes on field trips to a corporate hangar, a STEM charter high school, an executive airstrip, and aerospace company featuring some GVSU engineering grads!  Bussing is provided for all field trips.  

Camp will be organized into smaller teams so that the kids have more access to volunteers, equipment, tools, and toys!  The teams are created so that campers have an opportunity to meet some new people and stretch their engineering-legs.  We encourage active listening and open communication with all our new team friends.  

A morning snack and afternoon snack will be provided each day for the campers.  Snacks are purchased to accommodate any/all dietary restrictions that our campers have.  We are usually 100% peanut and tree-nut free.  A buffet lunch is also provided each day for the campers and staff.  In the past lunches have been taco bar, pasta bar, breakfast bar, and a sandwich boxed lunch.  There are meat-free and gluten-free options available.  There are salads and fruit available at every lunch.  

Monday for REGISTRATION: There is curbside parking along Winter Avenue, next to the IDC building.  Please park your car at a meter and walk your camper into the IDC for the first day.  Our staff will make sure all of your camper's information is up to date, and will take over from there.  We will have staff out at the curb to monitor the parking situation.  Please do NOT pay for a meter.  We expect the drop-off to take no longer than 5 minutes.  

Tuesday-Thursday: STEPS utilizes curb-side drop-off and pick-up.  Drivers will queue up on Winter Avenue, facing South, along the curb.  Your camper will be released to you by a camp staff member after the sign-out procedure is complete.  Any driver must be assigned to a camper and proper identification must be presented to a staff member.  

Thursday night for FLY NIGHT: Your camper will be bussed to the Fly Field out in Allendale for Fly Night.  Parents and immediate family are invited to join us for Fly Night at the Fly Field.  Campers must sign out one last time with the staff before leaving the field.  Campers will be able to go home with their parents after they are done flying that evening.  

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.  

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.  

STEPS Camp activities are led by the Director, an Assistant to the Director, a Lead Technician, a Student Technician, and counselors.  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 protocols for all volunteers working with the University.  

Page last modified October 20, 2022