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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost for my child to participate?
There is currently no fee for in-state, public school to families for their student to participate in the program. This because we work directly with counties so that each county is covering the cost of their students to attend. However, we do request that families please provide as many necessary items as possible on the Student Packing List. The cost for private or home school students is $99 per child.
If my child does not have items on the packing list, can they still attend?
Absolutely, your child can certainly attend Science Adventure School! We will do our best to supply any needed items so that your child has an enjoyable and comfortable week. You will need to contact us at SAS@mail.wvu.edu to let us know what you’re missing so that we can confirm we have the gear you will need. Please don’t let the packing list get in the way of your child’s participation!
Will boys and girls stay in separate camps?
Yes, boys and girls will stay in separate areas of camps, as well as in separate tents. Our supportive network of teachers, leaders, and facilitators will also stay in gender-designated campgrounds and will ensure that rules regarding sleeping arrangements are strictly enforced.
Will my child be placed in groups with their closest friends?
We understand your child may want to stay with friends while overnight camping and during activities, so we will make efforts to accommodate their wishes. However, our experience and research prove that some of the most lasting relationships occur when children reach “out of their comfort zone” and begin to form new friendships. Part of our mission is to facilitate building new friendships, so expect that your child will be doing activities with new friends as well.
Where will my child take care of personal needs?
There are several bathhouses with restrooms, flushing toilets, and private showers in each campsite. Adequate time will be given for your child to take care of their personal needs while at the campsite as well as during various activities throughout the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
What outdoor areas or environments will my child engage with while they are there?
Your child will be immersed in some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes that West Virginia has to offer! We will enjoy exploring native woodlands and forests, open meadows, and stream, lake and wetland areas that will surely inspire your child’s sense of wonder for the natural world.
What adventure sports will my child participate in?
Our adventure sport curriculum is what sets SAS apart from other science-related experiences for kids! We safely offer high excitement adventure sports such rock climbing, cycling, zip lining, and archery, courtesy of the WVU Science Behind the Sport program.
Food and Lodging
What will my child eat and drink?
Your child will be provided with a healthy and plentiful breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as nutritional snacks as needed throughout the day. We have established daily meals and snacks in accordance with our staff Nutritionist’s recommendations for daily caloric intake suitable for children in this age range. In addition, your child will be encouraged to drink water frequently and milk will be provided at meal times. We are fully committed to maintaining children’s healthy minds and bodies during their time at SAS!
What about dietary restrictions or food allergies?
We are committed to accommodating any dietary restrictions your child may require. Please let us know before your child comes to SAS, so that we are fully prepared to accommodate these restrictions (this will be included in the information packet required to secure your child’s spot). Should your child have a food-related allergy, please be sure this information is included in their registration and medical release forms. It cannot be overstated that the earlier this information is communicated to us, the better prepared we are to ensure your child’s safety and enjoyment.
Is it okay if I send snacks with my child?
Although we appreciate that parents would like to send student's favorite snacks with them to SAS, we ask that you please do not send food items with your child. There are two main reasons for this. First, it's essential that we keep food items out of the tent areas so as not to attract any wildlife to the tents. Secret snack surprises for students can mean critters finding these snacks before students. Second, we do our best to accommodate any food allergies and insure that we're keeping all students protected by keeping snacks with troublesome ingredients out of rotation. Without inspecting each incoming snack, we can't do this.
If students do bring snacks along, we will collect these in animal-proof containers to be returned at the end of the week.
Please rest assured that we have a huge selection of kid-friendly and approved snacks that are readily available at any time of day! Your students will never go hungry at SAS.
Where will my child sleep at night?
Your child will sleep in a strong, weather-resistant, four-person, canvas tent. You will need to supply your child with a warm sleeping bag. If you do not have a sleeping bag, please contact us, as we have some that your child can borrow with prior notice. Your child may bring a pillow (travel-sized preferred) or try their hand at making a rucksack style pillow with the clothing they’ve brought along.
Medical or Behavioral Problems
What if my child gets sick or is injured at camp? Will a family member be notified?
If your child becomes ill or sustains an injury, please be assured that we have a system in place to ensure care is promptly delivered to your child. It is required that every SAS instructor and leader team have First Aid/CPR Certification before working with your children. In addition, EMT is on-location 24-hours a day. We also have a camp nurse who is available 24/7. Our staff team is trained and ready to effectively handle a wide range of mild to major medical issues that may arise. The emergency contact(s) on the child’s information forms will promptly be called, briefed, and consulted for further action.
Who will dispense medication or administer first aid if my child becomes sick or needs a regular medication?
Prescription medication and over-the-counter medication will be dispensed to your child as per their health plan created by you and your school nurse. SAS staff and teachers who have medical administration training will administer medication under the supervision of our camp nurse. Please be advised that our medical staff will consult the child’s medical form prior to dispensing medication. Should there be a specific medication you do NOT want our medical staff to dispense to your child, this should be clearly stated on the medical form. Parents will always be contacted before dispensing non-prescription, over-the-counter medications.
Do you have a lice policy?
What if my child does not want to participate in an activity?
We understand that your child may not choose to participate in every activity or lesson we offer. That’s alright with us! While we will offer supportive encouragement for your child to overcome any challenge throughout their time at the SAS, we fully respect their right to choose to not participate as well.
What if there are behavior problems on behalf of my child?
Although the outdoor and experiential education environment often curtail typical behavior problems, we understand there may be issues that arise that are beyond our control. If a child is having a behavior issue that a teacher or instructor cannot work through with the child or that causes a safety concern to self or others, we will remove the child from the environment. Our first action is to discuss what may have caused the behavior and what the child may need to resume the activity. If the child does not want to continue or does not follow through with improved behavior, the parent will be responsible for retrieving the child from the Summit.
Contacting Your Child
Why is this an overnight camp?
We believe that staying overnight allows your child to fully engage with their natural surroundings, allow for a deeper commitment to the learning process, and promote significant friendships and team-building opportunities. We understand that your child may be anxious about camping overnight for several days, but research shows that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of staying overnight.
Can I contact my child while they are at Science Adventure School?
Yes, you may certainly contact your child on their personal mobile phone and check in with them throughout the week. Please be advised that your child will not be readily available during active adventure sports activities or hands-on teaching sessions. Our staff will collect and secure students' phones during most of the day to so that they can be fully immersed in the SAS experience. Opportunities will be provided during evening free time for students to check in with family members on a regular basis - this is typically right after dinner between 6:00pm and 7:00pm. You may also see what your child is up to on our Facebook page, as we post updates throughout the week.
Can I come and visit my child?
While we understand that spending the week without your child may be a challenge, we ask that you do not visit your child in-person while they participate in Science Adventure School. The Summit Bechtel Reserve is a secure site, and parents will not have the security clearance to access programming areas. SAS instructors, facilitators, and leaders are trained and diligently dedicated to mitigating risk during your child's time with us. We understand that your child may feel homesick, and we will provide caring support and encouragement to share updates with family members as time allows. It is NEVER our intention to keep parents from their children. However, for security and programming purposes, we will not allow parent visits.
What if my child is homesick and wants to leave camp?
While every effort will be made on our behalf to ensure your child feels welcome and encouraged, we do understand this situation may occur. Our experience has proven that students who are homesick the first day or two are the students who wish they could stay longer on days three and four. We ask that you work with us to empower and encourage your child as they gain the confidence and build friendships to support their decision to stay. However, if the decision is made for the child to leave SAS, we will support that decision. It will be the responsibility of the family to travel to Summit Bechtel Reserve to pick up your child. Hours for pick up will be provided to you. Please do not show up unannounced at the Summit, as this can seriously impact the quality of programming for all students.
What if there is an emergency at home while my child is at camp?
If you need to contact your child at any point during their stay because of an emergency, you can contact or office phone and press the option for immediate connection to an onsite coordinator at 304-293-7190. If you have general questions, comments, concerns, or other things you would like to discuss, we would love to hear from you via email at SAS@mail.wvu.edu or the main line option at the same number - 304-293-7190. We stress that the on-call line is used for emergencies only.
What safety precautions will be taken?
Your child will be outfitted with top-rated, high quality safety gear throughout their experiences. In addition, our staff is thoroughly trained, experienced, and tested in order to be permitted to work with your child – we truly believe they are some of the best in the business. Additionally, your child will be encouraged to regularly drink water and reapply sunscreen and insect repellent throughout the day/night.
Is the Summit Bechtel Reserve location secure?
Yes, our location is secure with as many risks mitigated as possible. Access to the Summit Bechtel Reserve is restricted, securely gated, and under surveillance by guard/security 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Only credentialed individuals and pre-arranged groups and guests are permitted to enter the site.
Who else may enter/exit location?
Other than school buses transporting children and teachers to the SAS, anyone entering the location must pass through a gated security check point. Only SAS staff members and instructors, supporting nursing and medical team members, Summit Bechtel Reserve staff and employees, and authorized personnel may receive clearance to enter/exit the location. If a parent needs access to the site to pick up a child for any reason, you will need to bring photo ID and will be escorted by a team member while on site. This isn't just for security; we also don’t want you to get lost!
Are there indoor facilities in case of inclement weather?
Yes, in the case of inclement weather (thunderstorms, active lightning, heavy rain or excessive wind), outdoor activities will be delayed and learning activities will be moved to a covered pavilion, indoor classroom, or other secure indoor location. We strongly stress that your child’s safety is our top priority, and we assure you that there is ample and safe space to which we can retreat day or night. Should severe weather be a concern, we will let parents know that all is well via our Facebook page. Please refrain from calling the emergency-only phone number to check in – it’s important that the line be available in case of a serious emergency.
Is there wildlife that may pose a potential danger?
While West Virginia wildlife is present in and around the Summit Bechtel Reserve, we do our best to keep any potentially dangerous animals away from the site. We use industry-accepted practices for encounter prevention, such as using bear-proof waste containers and making sure staff members inspect program sites before students arrive. All SAS Staff members are highly experienced and skilled at identifying WV wildlife and will take every precaution necessary to mitigate risk. We believe it is a privilege to enjoy this reserve and appreciate the diverse wildlife that call it home, but our top priority is keeping our students safe.