My name is Kathy Beining and I am the Director of the Challenge Program held each summer on the campus of Saint Vincent College. I am a full time faculty member in the Education Department. As part of a rejuvenation of this program I moved into the director position last year and implemented some program changes. Each week of the program is loosely tied to a theme that young people would enjoy. All of the coursework, entertainment, and extra activities are 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 Day camp for 3rd-4th graders, sleep away program for 5th-11th grade, or the pre college experience for 11th and 12th graders 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 certification. All counselors have experience working with students and have current clearances. They undergo counselor training/orientation specific to Challenge. These very responsible young people are chosen through a rigorous screening as the position is highly coveted.
All Challenge courses are designed by the Head of the Education Department and taught by certified teachers. All courses are designed to challenge, encourage deeper thought, be highly interactive, and most importantly fun. Courses are offered to meet a wide variety of student interest while maintaining the theme bond.
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 study lounges and game room during free times. An evening curfew is established and at that point boys and girls must remain on their assigned floor with the assigned counselor.
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. 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 students experience to be a wonderful one, so to enrich the courses and activities we take them off campus occasionally to enjoy local entertainment such as swimming, skating, and mini-golf. They are transported in school buses provided by First Student, 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.