MTSU camps grow in variety, popularity

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From left, MTSU flight instructor Jonathan Benefield, left, poses with MTSU Introduction to Aviation Summer Camp participants Eddie Isbll, Preston Davis and Jacob Solan in June 2017. (MTSU file photo by Jayla Jackson)

MURFREESBORO -- Budding teenage journalists learn the ropes through a one-week crash course in the Innovation J-Camp at Middle Tennessee State University.

When it's 90-plus degrees outside, rising fourth- through 12th-graders find comfortable air conditioning inside the Tennessee Livestock Center learning techniques for the care of their goats and showing them in competitions.

Just as they have done so for decades, hundreds will benefit this year from the MTSU Summer Experiences.

To view numerous options, visit

There's something for everybody -- from youngsters to senior citizens -- as the camps and experiences run from forensic science (CSI: MTSU) to journalism (Innovation J-Camp) to music and more.

Camps include the Guitar Workshop Plus and the Introduction to Aviation and Professional Pilot Advanced camps. The June 4-5 goat camp ( will be held in the Tennessee Livestock Center.

Summer Experiences include the June 1-23 Governor's School for the Arts for rising 11th- and 12th-graders from across Tennessee; learning new languages; and the June 20-22 Alumni Summer College.

The two-week Scholars Academy in early August gets incoming MTSU freshmen acclimated to campus and gives them a head start in biology, mathematics and more. Likewise, CUSTOMS, the university's summer orientation for freshmen and transfer students, helps them adjust to campus life.

Athletically, there are camps for football, boys' and girls' basketball, soccer, volleyball and cheerleader sessions.

For the musically gifted, offerings include the Stamps-Baxter School of Music for Southern Gospel enthusiasts July 7-14, Southern Girls Rock Camp July 23-28 and weeklong Guitar Workshop Plus July 15-20.

A STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp for underrepresented middle school girls is scheduled 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 18-22 in Kirksey Old Main. Underrepresented in STEM fields include African-American, Hispanic and Native American girls. Apply online ( by June 5 or call 615-494-8738.

David Lockett of the Orlando, Florida, area, provides many activities -- including coding and art -- that are featured in his STEM Camp in June and July in the Fairview Building. To register, visit

Dates, times and events are subject to change. Call or email the contact to ensure the camp or event you want to register for remains available.

Here's a sample of MTSU's camps and summer experiences:


One of the hottest camps around is the Forensic Institute for Research (or FIRE) CSI: MTSU. It is a four-day (June 19-22) program for rising ninth-graders through college freshmen.

Led by nationally recognized forensic scientist Hugh Berryman, CSI campers explore unique career opportunities and find a real-life reason to tackle higher level math and science courses; they also develop teamwork skills, seeing and understanding details, critical thinking and making presentations.

Each student is trained in the fundamental processes of collecting evidence, including DNA, fingerprints, hair and fibers, simulated blood spatter and shoe prints. They eventually learn how to process the evidence, conduct interviews and formulate theories while participating in a team environment.

Teams make a final-day presentation detailing their theories of the crime and the conclusions by a forensic science panel.

To learn more, call 615-898-5048, email or visit

Innovation J-Camp

MTSU's Center for Innovation in Media will welcome a new group of high school students July 9-13 for the Innovation J-Camp, which exposes participants to a week of training on producing multimedia stories.

The camp, now in its fourth year, is led by Val Hoeppner, director of the center, which is a part of MTSU's College of Media and Entertainment.

The workshop helps ninth- through 12th-graders become digital storytellers who can produce content for video, web, mobile, social media and print audiences.

They learn about news basics and new media platforms each day, then tackle hands-on assignments in the field with camp instructors. At week's end, each camper posts video, photos and written stories on a special website they'll build and manage to showcase their multimedia project.

The center, also known as the CIM, opened in 2012 and combines the newsrooms for Sidelines, MTSU's student news site; WMTS-FM, the student radio station; Match Records, the student record label; and MT10 News, the student-operated cable television station. WMOT-FM Roots Radio, MTSU's 100,000-watt National Public Radio affiliate, also is housed in the center.

For more information, visit

Alumni Summer College

With a theme of "Better Living," the 11th annual Alumni Summer College will focus on various aspects of physical, mental and emotional health that can enhance lives.

Highlights of this year's three-day event will be entertainment by Emmy-nominated comedian Chonda Pierce, a field trip to Ray Stevens' CabaRay Showroom in Nashville, Tennessee, and a variety of interesting "classes."

"Alumni Summer College is a three-day program inviting alumni and university friends to return to campus to connect with their school, learn about interesting subjects and have loads of fun," said Rhonda King, Alumni Relations assistant director and event coordinator.

Regarding the "Better Living" premise, King said "mental and emotional wellness is crucial to our overall well-being. Our presenters will provide everyone with takeaways and resources that can be implemented to reach and maintain health."

For more information, contact the Alumni Relations office at 615-898-2922 or visit


Coaches from MTSU's athletic teams offer excellent opportunities for youngsters and teenagers to grow in their selected sport throughout the summer.

Along with their assistants, Rick Stockstill (football), Nick McDevitt and Rick Insell (men's and women's basketball, respectively) and other head coaches lend their expertise and MTSU's facilities for the budding athletes.

Campus Recreation Center

When youngsters ages 7 to 13 are on summer break, MTSU's Campus Recreation Center provides an alternative for working parents on a weekly basis from May 29 through July 27.

Campus Rec's Youth Summer Camp helps children become involved, learn a variety of sport, leisure and fitness activities and learn important crucial life skills.

Good sportsmanship, the value of regular exercise and working together as a team are among the most valuable skills emphasized.

Campus Rec also offers a summer swim program, "Swim Express," for ages 10 to 16 and running weekly from June 4 through July 27, but not during the week of July 4. Call 615-898-2104 to register or for more information.

For the rec center's full spectrum, visit

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