Re: ATM: Nerd Camp

1

I went to nerd camp. Two sessions a day of BASIC programming on the Apple II GS, which was pretty sweet. The rest of the time filled with, like, swimming and stuff, which I really didn't care for.

Oh, yeah.... we also dissected a shark. That was cool.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:08 PM
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Me too. I loved it. Totally worth it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:19 PM
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I like to think that if you push your kids toward nerdiness, they'll want to take up NASCAR or tractor pulls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:24 PM
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4

So, take them to tractor pulls.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:27 PM
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But as I found out from reading this book at Kohl's the other day, you should never give a pig a pancake. All hell breaks loose!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:30 PM
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A relative of mine hosted me here for a few weeks to do the sort of thing in #1 when I was about 10. Basically a day camp that had a 1980s computer lab (complete with a Logo turtle). SP probably even knows the place; it's the local school whose name is often confused with the also-local networking company. Mostly what occurs to me about it now is that all of the actual resources they had for this are now online things.

CTY-ish stuff I somehow remained ignorant of (in retrospect, my parents probably couldn't afford it) until I got to college and was kind of grumpy at not having been able to be involved.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:49 PM
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I loved CTY too. I got along with more people on my one hall of my dorm room than in every school I had been to put together.

The first year I went, we exchanged letters afterwards. The third year, we exchanged (mostly parents') email addresses instead of real addresses, so nobody stayed in touch anymore because email is boring and annoying. So that's what generation I'm from!

Nowadays with Facebook, we would have stayed friends.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 2:51 PM
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CTY is the standard option for middleschoolers. For Math specific middle school programs there's Mathpath and Max Warshauer's program.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:05 PM
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I qualified for TIP but my parents couldn't afford to send me. I'm still bitter.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:05 PM
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10

Never even heard of these things.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:14 PM
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10: I also never heard about them. I heard about "summer camps" in general, but they always seemed to be an east coast thing. (Church camps are common out here, but we were never inclined to go...)


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:17 PM
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Basically a day camp that had a 1980s computer lab (complete with a Logo turtle). SP probably even knows the place; it's the local school whose name is often confused with the also-local networking company.

I went to camp at that school, and I went to the described sort of computer camp around here, but I don't think it was that computer camp. I liked it, although the computer stuff was mostly kind of behind what I was doing/interested in so I ended up playing a lot of tennis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:18 PM
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The son of my friends in LA is now at Lego Robotics camp at his fancy private school, which sounds both awesome and very much like a thing a fancy private school would have (they have a nationally ranked Lego Robotics team, apparently).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:19 PM
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Mas/ter/School. I was initially writing that it was more crunchy than nerdy, but then I looked at its website which gives a different impression. I do remember a computer lab with BASIC, and making electromagnets, and a videotape talking about fractals, but it's all foggy, and certainly there was plenty of regular camp stuff like horses and swimming. I was pretty little, I think.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:40 PM
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I would also look into tinkering schools. This is the SF one that a lot of them are modeled on: http://www.tinkeringschool.com/


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 3:47 PM
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All very alien from a north Knifecrimean perspective. Although I did go on a 3 day engineering thing aged 15. But because I was 15 and in Glasgow, I got drunk and tried but failed to get off with girls.

Generally, though, I'm against smart-person ghettos, but since north Knifecrimean schol experience seems, from past conversations, less hostile (for smart-persons) I don't think that should count for much.

So, if they seem up for it, go for it.

Typing this quite hard, semi-becks-style, on a phone.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 4:03 PM
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I'm so old my computer summer camp was called the TTY. Note: I'm not that old. I think I learned CTY existed from unfogged.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 4:25 PM
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I did CTY at Franklin & Marshall. It was... fine? I liked it a lot in the moment but didn't stay in touch with people.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 4:31 PM
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19

I was supposed to do CTY at Johns Hopkins and my mother wouldn't let me(, because parted from her side).
My kid is filled with various nerdly enthusiams (that he dug up himself -- lighthouses???) and on the day (next week probably when he goes to pre-school) when he is made to feel ridiculous for his nerdly enthusiasms a part of me will die. Siiigh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 4:42 PM
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We had something sort of similar - one of the Heroinopolis universities ran summer schools on maths and engineering, which I went to, but they weren't residential. I just took the bus every morning like a wee commuter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 4:48 PM
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And I didn't even try to get off with girls. Except in the sense of getting off the bus with them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 4:49 PM
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Yeah, I did bus-in programs at the local college after fourth and sixth grades, did a two-week TIP camp for girls and was sort of traumatized to see how different I was from regular girls, even if I didn't have a name for it yet. Then after eighth grade a month or so of daily science camp at the local college. Statewide nerdcamp before senior year of HS was pretty much the highlight of my life. But this is all very idiosyncratic.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:05 PM
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Another thumb up for statewide nerd camp, though not in Thorn's state.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:23 PM
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My kid is filled with various nerdly enthusiams (that he dug up himself -- lighthouses???)

My kid was into lighthouses. It must be a thing.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:32 PM
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I had a fairly miserable experience at Duke TIP. Some bullying, and lots of general unpleasantness of the type typical of middle schoolers.

High school statewide nerd camp was fun. Not life-changing for me in the way lots of others said it was for them.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:33 PM
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And CTY creeps me out with the way they keep writing and asking for DNA samples for their eugenics program or whatever it is.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:34 PM
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SP, as someone who attended CTY for three years and then taught there for, it must have been, five or six years more, I agree with the consensus here: the benefits are social more than intellectual, particularly given the intellectual resources your children will have.

But now as we all confess to our various camps, I'm wondering whether anyone here did a TASP?


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:38 PM
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Essear! I worked for SET, the summer between college and grad school, and you're totally right: that part of CTY is very creepy.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:39 PM
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The only acronym I didn't have to look up was "DNA".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:41 PM
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30

SOOBC camp was the best.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:45 PM
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26: I wonder if that's St/eve Hs/u's big "sequence all the smart people to prove that I'm a Nietzschean superman" project?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:45 PM
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32

31: god love%im


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:48 PM
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25: no offense but I suspect your being straight was a factor there, maybe also they you were from a magnet already. It seems to have had more impact on people who hadn't found an affirming social set prior.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:51 PM
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Different friends, respectively, run a Rock Camp For Girls, and attend/send their kids to QORDS. Both sound pretty decent to me. If I had been allowed to design a summer camp experience for myself, it would mostly have consisted of lying on a bunk, reading science fiction and listening to the rain on the corrugated metal roof. With some occasional forays into the woods or onto a lake to look at the nature.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:54 PM
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I did CTY at Johns Hopkins one summer. I didn't make any lasting friendships, but I easily might have, and it is easily my favorite summer memory from being a kid.

19.2: on the day (next week probably when he goes to pre-school) when he is made to feel ridiculous for his nerdly enthusiasms a part of me will die

Wishing him good luck and you strength. Unless you were very lucky, just the fact that you feel that way means he will have more support than you did.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:57 PM
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36

I have nerdy kids, but we've been disorganizedly strange about camps. Sally went to literal Space Camp, which was apparently socially fascinating as nerdy, but redstate military-identified nerds. She came home having had fun, but impressed by how weird it gets out there in America. (And the actual anti-gravity simulation, learning about history of the space race, and so on was fun.)

Newt's just done various summer classes. Cooking and programming, different years.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:57 PM
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27: TASP was the only nerd thing I ever truly wanted to do and didn't get in. (Hangs head in shame.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 5:58 PM
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Oh, and I did go to YMCA day camp in the summers -- just bussed out to an outer-ring suburb for 6 or 7 hours a day for a few weeks -- I think just Tues-Weds-Thurs. So not that immersive or anything. No one stole my glasses to start a fire, so I guess it was a success.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:00 PM
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27: yo. Back in the day that was pretty much the only nerd camp.

See also
http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_7888.html



Posted by: Unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:15 PM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. Space camp was the only thing I was sort of interested in as a kid, but I went to traditional activity-based sleep away camp every summer from ages 8 to 18 (the last two working there). My wife wanted to go to a math camp but her parents weren't supportive. We've thought about just having him take the CTY test which would let him go either of the two next summers, but it costs $60 to take so trying to figure out if he'd like it. We're looking for general science-computer-math not just math. He does love nature camp, though- we did baseball, nature, and sleep away this summer, a couple weeks of each.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:28 PM
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Overnight nerd camps are for the children, but not the British children.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:30 PM
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42

Heh, I was just singing the original to myself an hour ago.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:36 PM
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43

Both my kids have been instructors and counselors at CTD at Northwestern for multiple years. A good gig.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 6:54 PM
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The SET may have been a little creepy in retrospect, but Julian Stanley was super nice to me, so I think it came from a good place.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:15 PM
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I also got rejected from TASP (ditto RSI). Yes SET is creepy.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:44 PM
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I think the camp options he had this past summer sound lovely, SP! It doesn't all have to be curricular, they need lots of time to just loaf about and be kids. Maybe just a few weeks of math stuff in betweenst the other stuff?

I did the very traditional music thing growing up, focused on instrumental playing, but with my son his musical education has been so odd and backwards it is hard to figure out how to slot him into something more traditionally focused. He's gone off piste with dance this summer too, discovered Bollywood with maximum delight and enthusiasm. Once you let them out of the ballet box ...


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:49 PM
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33 25: no offense but I suspect your being straight was a factor there, maybe also they you were from a magnet already.

Why would this cause offense? I'm sure you're right. My high school was a really great social environment for me.

But for younger kids, at least my experience at TIP was totally the opposite of 27.1: it was academically interesting but socially terrible. 13-year-olds, smart or not, can be awfully unpleasant.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:56 PM
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Any time I read "tasp" I think of Ringworld.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 7:57 PM
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31: Older and I think unaffiliated with H/su, but similar idea. And as others said I guess it's SET and not CTY, although they're related somehow--I never went to a CTY camp but got lots of mail from them for years, and mail still goes to my parents' house requesting participation in the DNA thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 8:08 PM
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Your parents could probably send in some hair from an old brush or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:22 PM
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51

That seems even creepier somehow.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:26 PM
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Have you been up for 20 hours straight?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:41 PM
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I slept some on the plane(s).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:42 PM
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I am about to go to bed, though, because I'm definitely exhausted.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-21-15 9:42 PM
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41: Spartan children went to Wilderness Survival camp in the summer, from which some of them actually returned.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 12:59 AM
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from which some of them actually returned.

More's the pity for any helot they ran into out there.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 1:21 AM
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47: Just a joke, essear! It's totally ok to be straight in high school and I was just trying to flip how people would normally talk about things like that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 3:23 AM
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36/40. Was Space Camp like this, or what?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 5:15 AM
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CTY was amazing. Three weeks of nothing but math, tennis, bughouse chess, all with the type of kids who liked that stuff. I even enjoyed the sappy American Pie shit at the end-of-camp dances.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 5:59 AM
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I'm sure CTY is great for the kids but god they're annoying if you're an adult on campus. They seem to make efforts to out-dork each other, and they're really inconsiderate about things like noise and pedestrian courtesy.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 9:42 AM
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The Cherubs at NU are older (maybe?) so perhaps not so bad. I remember finding their trying-too-hard handmade AmeriKKKa shirts, etc., endearing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 10:29 AM
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Overnight nerd camps are for the children, but not the British children.

That's what boarding school is for.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 12:20 PM
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The only nerd camps I remember hearing of were debate camp (boarding ones were too expensive, university a far commute until I was a junior) and I guess Deep Springs, which I qualified for by testing but not gender. Still pissed about that.

Can't figure out if I was really out of it, or the PNW just didn't have many, or it would have been too expensive and I just didn't think about it or what. I did make a few friends at math nationals, I would have liked more.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 4:08 PM
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In shocking news, I am in touch with precisely nobody from high school nerd camp and nobody from pine-forest-archery-and-scratchy-woolen-short-pants summer camp.

OT: In a dim and distant epoch lost, two weeks to oneself would have been a relative debauch (pizza! first-person shooters! IMAX movies!), but now one is picking carefully through the detritus of the not-picking-things-up tornado that is TWYRCL, trying to figure out what one can throw away without her noticing and what one might have to come up with a cover story for trashing. And trust me, "That coupon circular was thirty months old" is not a winning argument in Her Majesty's courts.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 4:24 PM
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You could laminate the coupons and trust irony to make your point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 5:09 PM
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Or file them in some well-labeled and logical fashion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 5:25 PM
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CTY was great for my kid. He was already headed in a nerdy but relatively sociable and adventurous direction, but CTY was a big confidence builder.


Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 5:30 PM
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I went to CTY for two years. Don't know how much I got out of it, but I enjoyed it, for whatever that's worth. On second thought, it introduced me to the works of Douglas Adams (or, maybe not introduced me from scratch, but pretty close), which had a big influence on me.

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I saw this movie trailer and immediately thought of you people.
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Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-22-15 6:43 PM
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