Student submissions only. Grant Deadline is March 31, 2024.
My name is Dr. Kathy Beining and I am the Director of the Challenge Program held each summer on the campus of Saint Vincent College. I have held this position for the past fourteen years. I am a full time faculty member of the Education Department. As part of a rejuvenation and the ever forward moving direction of this program, I have implemented some changes. While we continue to be loosely tied to a theme that young people would enjoy, we have taken a fresh perspective on the coursework in both the day and overnight programs. All of the coursework will be offered as an “immersion” into a topic that will interest your child. These will be academically based experiences, offered in longer time frames with a project-based outcome. The entertainment and extra activities continue to be loosely related to the topic to make the experience cohesive, as well as lots of fun.
Regardless of the program your child is attending, be it the Day Program for 1st-4th graders or the Overnight Program for 5th-12th grades, they will be supervised by counselors. A counselor’s role is to serve the needs of the students attending camp. This includes, but is not exclusive of: dealing with homesickness or illness, acting as a guide, and being there to answer any and all questions. They lead and participate in activities and help with new student orientation. All counselors are Saint Vincent College Education students or SVC Education graduates that hold teaching certifications. All counselors have experience working with students and have current clearances. They undergo counselor training and orientation specific to The Challenge Program. These very responsible young people are chosen through a rigorous screening as the position is highly coveted.
All Challenge immersions are taught by certified teachers. All immersions are designed to challenge, encourage deeper thought, be highly interactive, and most importantly, fun. Immersions are offered to meet a wide variety of student interests, while maintaining the theme bond.
The Challenge Program is housed in the Rooney dorm for those staying on campus. This dorm is famous for being the housing used by the Pittsburgh Steelers during training camp. The students are free to roam the dorm and make use of the movie room and game room during free times. An evening curfew is established and at that point boys and girls must remain on their assigned floors with their assigned counselors.
On campus meals are offered three times a day, usually in the cafeteria, by Parkhurst, the campus food service. Occasionally, we have meals served picnic style outdoors or in a more formal setting than the cafeteria, and on a rare occasion, off campus during an evening event. We also provide an evening snack and often have a snack if we are off campus for an evening event. No one ever goes hungry! Parkhurst is very diligent in satisfying and meeting your child’s food allergy needs.
Many students with medicinal needs have been able to join us for the program. The Health and Wellness Center on campus is staffed with medical professionals that dispense medications provided by you in a professional and discreet manner. They are also available most waking hours for issues and emergencies. 911 would take over after hours, should the need arise.
We want your children's experience to be a wonderful one, so to enrich the immersions and activities we may take the overnight group off campus occasionally to enjoy local entertainment such as swimming, skating, and mini-golf. They are transported in school buses provided by AJ Myers, the bus company used by Greater Latrobe School District. Counselors and Assistant Directors accompany the students on the bus and at the events. All events are planned well in advance and you are aware of them before you even arrive on campus.
Many students have enjoyed more than one summer with us and some even become students here at the College. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience life on campus, within the parameters of a structured program. I hope this has answered many of your questions and put your mind at ease that we will care diligently for your child while they are enjoying their stay with us at the beautiful campus of Saint Vincent College.
Looking forward to seeing you this summer,
The challenge program
Saint Vincent College has been hosting the Challenge Program since 1982. Operated by the Saint Vincent College Education Department, the Challenge Program is a summer event for students to participate in fun, enriched classes and elective activities. The day program is for students entering grades Prek and K as well as 1st through 4th in the fall of 2024. The overnight program has challenging classes and fun evening activities for students entering grades 5 through 12 in the fall of 2024. Registration starts early and is expected to fill quickly, so please review the information and contact us if you have any questions. Thank you!