When it comes to educating students, Jon Brush is never out of order.
For 15 summers, the 1975 Ohio Wesleyan University alumnus has been teaching “You’re On Trial” to talented and gifted sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders participating in OWjL camp.
“The course is not scripted,” Brush says, “so students have to think on their feet.”
And that’s the whole point of the popular camp, now in its 32nd year. About 550 gifted students from nine central Ohio counties are participating in this year’s camp. OWjL, pronounced “owl,” stands for Ohio Wesleyan University Junior League of Columbus, representing the camp’s sponsor and founder.
Brush, whose wife got him involved with the camp, says he enjoys interacting with the students and seeing their progression during their weeklong OWjL experience.
In addition to “You’re On Trial,” other courses offered during the camp include “American Sign Language,” “Dance Choreography,” “Statistics,” “Adventures in Leadership,” “A Dream Room to Dream,” “Fantastic Fiction,” and many more. All students, who must be nominated for OWjL Camp by their schools, pick four courses to take during their time at camp.
One such course is “Basic Robotics,” taught by Michael Vernier. In this class, campers receive a small robot and have to use a computer program to assign the robot to different tasks, such as saying hello and turning 90 degrees when a student claps. The campers have to work together and use problem-solving skills when the robot does not do what it is supposed to do.
“Tower of Power,” instructed by Fred Bruney, teaches students about building, contortion, weight, and shape. Students have a week to build a tower using four wooden poles and, on the last day of class, they test the durability of their structures by stacking weights on them.
OWjL campers routinely say they enjoy their time on campus and grow from the educational and residential experience. Many return as counselors when they are older.
This year’s camp began June 9 and ends its final weeklong session June 28.
Photos from this year’s OWjL camp