For the first time, students in the Fay Jones School’s Design Camp in Fayetteville this summer had the option to stay at the camp overnight.
Out of the 54 students who attended Design Camp this year June 13-17, 23 of them participated in the residential program, staying in a residence hall on the University of Arkansas campus.
“If it wasn’t for the overnight option, I wouldn’t have been able to be here,” said Zane Colvin, a high school senior from Wynne. “I’m really glad they made it an option.”
The residential students stayed in Humphreys Hall, and all but two of the students had roommates. These high school students were able to experience what it is like to be in college and have a roommate, said Eliza Woodside, a high school junior from Olathe, Kansas, who also stayed overnight. She also liked that she got to see the environment around the university.
This new addition to the camp allowed students who do not live in the Northwest Arkansas region to attend Design Camp, said Noah Billig, a Design Camp instructor. In fact, students came to Design Camp this year from eight states.
“It’s given them a taste of what it’s like to live on campus and go to the U of A,” said Alison Turner, a Design Camp instructor and director.
Before this option, it was too expense for students who live outside the area to attend the camp, Billig said. On top of the fees to attend Design Camp, students would have had to pay to stay in a hotel, unless they happen to have family or friends in the area willing to house them.
As in past years, some of this year’s Design Camp students who were not from the area did stay with local friends and family instead of the residence hall. Chris O’Neal, a high school senior from Marion, stayed the week with his sister, who attends the University of Arkansas, while attending camp.
The students who stayed at Humphreys Hall added more of a camp experience to their stay, Billig said. That overnight experience allowed them more time and opportunities to get to know each other better, Turner said.
“I can name two facts about everyone,” said Matthew Hamilton, a high school freshman from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about his fellow campers.
Carlee McGuire, a high school sophomore from Kingsport, Tennessee, said she liked that she was able to become friends with people with whom she might attend college.
Jordan Pitts, a Design Camp counselor, said it was fun to see the students bond. She had never been to a camp as a third-party observer, and said it was interesting to see which of the youths became friends.
Sara Lamont, a Design Camp counselor, said she thought the camp relationship the students had with each other was similar to the relationship that design students have with their peers in studio.
The residential students had a regular daily schedule, Pitts said. They ate breakfast at 7:30 a.m., then the counselors dropped them off at Design Camp around 8:20 a.m. After the Design Camp day session was done, the counselors picked up the students at 4 p.m. The counselors allowed the students about an hour of rest before they ate dinner at 5 p.m. Following dinner, the students had activities that varied from day to day. The day would end at 11 p.m., when students had to turn out their lights.
On the Monday evening of camp, the counselors took the students for a walk down Dickson Street. They stopped at Gearhead Outfitters, Arsaga’s at the Depot, Fayettechill and the Dickson Street Bookshop, Lamont said.
On Tuesday, the students played Ultimate Frisbee and drew on the sidewalks with chalk at Old Main, Pitts said. Jay Hill, another camp counselor, said Tuesday was his favorite night with the students.
The students had a movie night in Shollmier Hall, the auditorium in Vol Walker Hall, on Wednesday, Pitts said. The teens snacked on flavored popcorn, candy and sodas.
Then Thursday, on the last overnight evening before camp ended, the students chose to work on their design projects until dinner. After dinner, they returned to work on their projects until 8:30 p.m., when they went for ice cream at Burton’s Comfort Creamery, Pitts said.
Other than when the students participated in activities offered by the counselors, they spent a lot of time in the residence hall’s common room, where they played ping-pong and foosball.
Lamont said that her most memorable moment during the camp came when she watched the movie Mulan with the students. She put on the movie, and the students all came over when they heard the opening music. They watched the entire movie and sang every lyric.