June 24 - June 30, 2018

A Residential Camp for Talented and Highly Able Students in grades 5-8  Academy Save Date 2018 Turn Yourself Up! June 24-June 30, 2018 Pre-College Youth Programs Session 1: Students completing grades 5 & 6 Session 2: Students completing grades 7 & 8

Academy is a week-long experience allowing talented and highly motivated students in grades 5-8 to explore a broad range of classes, lectures, cultural events, and recreational activities. Academy is entering its thirty-seventh year, and has long been recognized as an outstanding educational opportunity for students in the Pacific Northwest. Students selected for each residential session on the SOU campus in Ashland interact with peers, and are challenged by creative, imaginative instructors and activities.

The week begins with check-in on Sunday evening, and classes occurring Monday through Friday. The daily schedule includes four one-hour classes, plus special presentations built around the years theme. Academy students select course offerings from humanities, mathematics, science, social studies, and fine and performing arts. After-class programs are coordinated with in-class activities to provide supervised recreation, as well as academic challenges. Students also attend an evening theatrical production at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Academy concludes on Saturday morning with the presentation of certificates and a closing ceremony for students and their families.

Administrative and residential staff carefully supervise the 12-person living groups. Students develop close friendships with fellow students from around the country.

2018 Brochure [PDF]                                                                 Start Application button guiding to CampDoc registration software    

DOWNLOAD A RECOMMENDATION FORM (PDF)                                                                     DOWNLOAD A JUNIOR COUNSELOR RECOMMENDATION FORM (PDF)




Come learn what it feels and sounds like to be a true leader! Experience a week full of outdoor adventure, communication and team building activities that will leave you feeling stronger and more skilled as you discover your own leadership style. Whether you are called on to lead in your classroom, with friends, or as part of your whole school it is important to practice being a leader and what that might look like to you! Instructor: Randi Nash has been working with youth for more than ten years teaching outdoor recreation and leadership skills. She received her Master’s in Teaching from SOU in June 2018 and will be teaching 2nd and 3rd grade at the John Muir School in Ashland. Randi enjoys running, hiking, backpacking and reading. 

Safe inside a mask and jacket, you will be introduced to the exciting sport of fencing. Learn the skills of scoring or making touches on your opponent while avoiding being scored on, as well as learning the respect, ethics, and camaraderie involved in this classic sport. Note: All equipment will be supplied. Instructor: Dylan Shelton is a certified Moniteur d'armes in three weapons with more than eight years' experience teaching fencing in the Rogue Valley.

Conflict happens between people at every age and in every setting. Developing skills like active listening and being able to interpret how people use non-verbal communication will help you reap the benefits of diffusing conflicts before they escalate. You’ll explore how to referee conversations and how to devise strategies of communicating with others to find mutually beneficial resolutions in situations at home, at school and with friends that will serve you for a lifetime. Instructor: John Cornet has been an AP teacher at Phoenix High School since 1999 and has taught at SOU.  He was a finalist for Oregon Teacher of the Year in 2006 (twice nominated), and recipient of the Imagine Award for Community Peacemaking in 2009.

Take on the role of a historical detective and try to figure out what really happened in this country hundreds of years ago.  You will piece together historical information and artifacts and use your powers of deduction to figure out what really happened during various historical events.  Learn how to engage in healthy debate about American history as you discover that every story has a bias behind it.  From Columbus's 'discovery' of America to the Boston Massacre to whether or not Abraham Lincoln was racist, you’ll realize that history is a puzzle that can be pieced together but the puzzle will never be fully completed. Instructor: Clint Rodreick is a Phoenix High School Social Studies Teacher who has been teaching for 10 years.  He teaches AP and Pre-AP and is the Speech and Debate coach.  Mr. Rodreick's educational focus and inspiration is to encourage students to think critically and deeply about the world they live in.

Did you know that there are about 400,000 plant species on planet Earth? The daily existence of human beings is directly influenced by plants that provide food, flavor, resin, oils, rubber, medicine and more so that we can survive. You’ll conduct field and laboratory research through hands on activities like preparing slides, looking at the inner workings of plant cells through a microscope and gathering plant specimens for identification. Explore the power of plants in this amazing new class! Instructor: Shelley Bursick holds a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology and a Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Sciences, Quasar Astronomy from the University of Arkansas.  She has shared her love of science and mathematics with youth in a variety of educational programs across the United States and Canada for almost 15 years.

Make your drawings move! The literal definition of the word animate is to “bring to life”. Using the wonderful technique of cut-out animation, you will design your own 2-D puppets and make fun short films to bring your imagined stories to life. Study “paper puppets” and how they “move” on film and then build your own puppets! Working individually or in small groups, you will then explore what makes an effective film script and learn how to create a ‘storyboard’ for your own ‘shorts’ as you apply the technical basics of capturing and compiling still images into a moving, animated final cut. Instructor:  Elijah Boor has been drawing as long as he can remember. He studied animation at Art School in San Francisco and loves building puppets for stop motion animation in his free time. He is currently working as a freelance illustrator and uses the computer to make most of his professional work. Elijah has used Photoshop for the last fifteen years but he still discovers new ways that digital tools can help him to express his imagination visually. He loves teaching and sharing his knowledge about art making and is excited to see the wild and awesome creations his pupils come up with! 

Fairytales are well-known cultural touchstones that serve as a jumping off point to contrast and compare cultural variations, symbols, and verbal expressions in writing. Pull back the curtain on these timeless stories as you explore fairytales that span the 17th to the 21st century. One day you may study flawed parents and strangers. Another day you may learn about shapeshifters, witches and beasts. By the end of the week, you will craft your own stories that are inspired and enriched through centuries of these transformational tales. Instructor: Ash Friend holds a Bachelor’s degree in Writing and an Associate’s degree in Histotechnology. Her love of science, writing, and art has led her to develop unique STEM and STEAM workshops and camps for a variety of educational institutions including Science Works, Buford Center for the Arts, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center.




Explore geometric principles and angle relations in a whole new way as you consider measurement and angles in a variety of building and construction models. You’ll design and build paper cubes and polyhedrons and practice calligraphy and lettering as you discover why some cultures call calligraphy “the geometry of the spirit”. Using a compass and a protractor you’ll learn the language of sacred geometry as you create beautiful mandalas that represent the cosmos and as a symbol that is used “to reunify the self”. Mathematics has never been more fun and fascinating! Instructor: Anna Schatz specializes in test prep and has a background in law and teaching. She is a Rogue Valley native and longtime Portlander.

Nature can be both inspiring and dangerous and it is never too early to learn strategies that will help you to stay safe in the wilderness. Explore the outdoors while you learn map reading and compass skills. Investigate the flora and fauna on outdoor tours around the SOU campus and practice first aid techniques including how to use splints and techniques to carry an injured person safely. Shelter building and the study of edible and poisonous plants will provide you with amazing survival skills and tactics so that you can act wisely and stay safe in all of your outdoor explorations and adventures. Instructor: Craig Lamm holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Oregon. He has worked extensively as a theatre artist around the country and abroad.

Study Japanese art and culture through musical instruments, Shuji (writing Japanese characters with a brush and ink), Origami (paper folding art work), clay work and the Japanese language. Broaden your cultural horizons while having fun! You will learn about Japanese cultural traditions such as making a replica of Japan’s ancient clay bell. Instructor: Wataru Sugiyama is an international sculptor and native of Japan. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States, England, Switzerland, Germany and Japan.

Documentary film is defined as “a motion picture that shapes and interprets factual material for purposes of education or entertainment.” Like Robert Flaherty’s 1922 film Nanook of the North that documented the Eskimo way of life or Ken Burns’ powerful films about American history, this style of film allows the viewer visual access to real-life experiences or causes that the film maker feels strongly about. Narrative film tells a fictional story but is shot in a manner that convinces the viewer that the unfolding events are real. Through your study of contemporary documentary and narrative films, you’ll explore the intensely collaborative process required to make these powerful films from conception, research and script writing to setting shots, shooting and editing the final cut. Instructor: Peter Arango holds a BA in English and a MA in Liberal Studies. He was a teacher for 44 years and held the Humanities Chair at the Cate School for 18 years. He is a Fellow and Instructor for the South Coast Writing Project, a Reader for the College Board, Educational Service and the University of California. He is the author of 5 novels and America’s Best Kept College Secrets.

Have you ever wanted to know how models for video games and animated movies are made? Come and learn 3D modeling and create 3D objects using the software Blender in this exciting new class! You'll learn the concepts for creating models within a digital 3D environment, including navigating the XYZ Axes, combining and modifying simple shapes to create complex designs, and more. You’ll work towards creating your own models for 3D printing at the end of the week. Instructor: George Fernandez is a graduate of SOU’s Emerging Media and Digital Arts Program with a focus in 3D modeling. He also has an associate of science degree from Rogue Community College and works on creating video games in his spare time.         

In its most basic form, choreography for dance is made of composed movement sequences accompanied by music. You will push those boundaries as you discover how choosing a movement style or step can ignite passion and inspire you. Whether you stand, spin, leap or jump, you will discover the joy of expressing yourself with dance as you experiment, improvise, make sequences and then revise. Each class will include dance vocabulary and instruction, improvisational explorations, and time for composing movement pieces in groups and in solo dances. At the end of the week you’ll create new dances in unique spaces! Instructor: Zoey Belyea has more than ten years’ experience teaching creative practice and theatre. She served as the Interim Education Director at ScienceWorks Hands On Museum and is the Managing Director of Stories Alive. Nationally, she designs curriculum for Citizen University and coordinates their Youth Power Project.



To be considered for Academy, students must be highly motivated with a love of learning. Generally, Academy students exhibit the ability to quickly explore topics in great depth and often require services beyond those provided by the regular school system. Students often demonstrate at least one of the following: 

  • Measured intelligence above average
  • Proven leadership ability
  • A special talent
  • Exceptional ability in the visual and performing arts
  • Unusual creative or productive thinking ability

Fees for Academy

Application Fee: $25 (first time applicants only) Pay online or mail a check to SOU Youth Programs, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland, OR 97520.
Student Tuition: $850
Junior Counselor Tuition: $600

We are offering a Sibling Discount of $25 (first sibling pays regular price, subsequent siblings get $25 sibling discount)

Fees cover all cost for tuition, activities, housing, meals, and supervision  

Note: Tuition payment is not required until notification of acceptance.  

 *Recommendation forms, report cards, or assessment scores can be mailed to:
        SOU Pre-College Youth Programs
        1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
        Ashland, OR 97520 

Important Dates:

Priority application Deadline - April 16
General Application Deadline - April 30

Instructor Information

If you are interested in teaching Academy courses, please complete the forms in the link below:

2018 Instructor Information and Course Proposal Forms [Fillable pdf] 

For further information please contact:
 Pre-College/Youth Programs Office
(541) 552-6452

ACADEMY is on Facebook facebook logo button image