General Camp Information
Will camps be in person or online this year?
NIU STEAM will offer a variety of interactive online camps during the summer of 2021.
What does a day at virtual camp look like?
We design our virtual camps to engage campers with hands-on projects and real-world experiences. Our expert instructors will guide campers in real-time instruction for approximately 90 minutes each morning. Campers will then be given work time to create and build and then come back together again each afternoon for approximately 90 minutes to share their projects and experiences. For the two-week camp sessions students will meet daily each afternoon for approximately two hours.
Are campers required to actually attend the live sessions, or will they have the option to watch videos and complete the activities independently?
When it is not possible to attend live, campers may watch the videos for instruction, however they’ll benefit much more by participating with the group so we strongly encourage campers to join the live sessions whenever possible.
What time are the live meetings?
Unless otherwise specified, 1-week camps will meet virtually:
9-10:30 a.m., Monday-Friday for the AM session
2:30-4 p.m., Monday-Friday for the PM session
2-week camps will meet virtually:
2-4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Who are the instructors for the camps?
Our expert instructors have a wide variety of backgrounds in STEAM education. We’re fortunate to have a staff of NIU faculty, alumni, grad students and educators who are committed to providing engaging educational experiences that spark curiosity, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Visit our staff page to learn more about our camp instructors.
What types of materials do campers need to complete the camp projects and activities, and will they be provided or will we need to supply them ourselves?
Campers will be sent an NIU string bag full of specific materials needed to complete their camp’s activities. It’s our intent to keep camp prices down by providing only the specialized or required items for an activity and allowing campers to be creative with what other materials they have at home. We may provide a list of additional suggested items to have on hand for that camp’s activities. These are simply meant as suggestions and examples. If you have any questions about obtaining suggested items or how they can be used, feel free to contact the camp instructor.
Can I register my student who is older/younger than recommended for a camp session?
Our camps are flexible regarding the age of participants, though some younger students may require additional support from an adult or older family member. A lot of the content in the science and art summer camps is fun for the family to do together.
How many students can participate in a camp session?
Most camp sessions allow for a maximum of 20 campers.
How do I register my camper(s)?
Register one or more campers by visiting our registration page
and submitting a $50 non-refundable deposit. A link to registration is also located next to each camp session’s description on the camp’s webpage. Registering online automatically signs you up for a payment plan for the fee balance, however, you may opt to pay the entire camp fee at once. Follow instructions on the form for payment information and completion of online application forms. After your initial registration and deposit, you will receive electronic application forms via email from an online system called CampDocs to complete the remainder of your camper's application. Please note that our communication is almost exclusively done through email, so be sure to submit an email address you check frequently and save us to your contacts so we don’t end up in your spam/junk folder.
Do potential campers need to be residents of Illinois?
No, we have campers from across the United States and from overseas.
Are there any additional costs beyond the camp fees?
No. The camp fees cover all specific/required materials that we ship to you. However, each camp session may also have additional suggested items to have on hand - these items are not required to complete any of the camp activities. A lot of our projects are flexible and can be done with different materials, many of which can be found in an average household. If you have any questions about camp materials, please feel free to reach out to the camp instructor.
Some of our video game design and esports camps have technology requirements to participate, so please read the Technical Requirements carefully when registering for these camps.
Are there payment plans or is full payment required at the time of application?
To reserve the camper's spot in the camp, you will need to provide a deposit. For the remaining balance, we offer payment plans, which are determined based on when you register your camper. Please take these payment plans into consideration when providing us with a card number as all charges will be made to the same account.
If you place your registration more than 60 days prior to the start of camp, you will pay a $50 deposit at the time of registration. The balance will then be paid in two installments: 60 days prior to camp, you will be charged 50% of the camp fee minus your $50 deposit and then 30 days prior to camp, you will be charged the remainder of your balance.
If you apply within 60 days of camp, you will be charged 50% of the camp fee at the time of registration and the remainder will be due 30 days prior to camp.
If you apply within 30 days of camp, you will be charged the full amount at registration.
Does NIU offer any financial aid or scholarship opportunities for campers?
Yes, though the funding available for scholarships is limited and varies from year to year. Partial scholarships will be awarded to campers based on need and demonstrated interest in STEAM. Scholarship applications are typically available beginning in January and can be requested by email from NIUSTEAM@niu.edu. All scholarships are awarded in the form of discounted registration fees. Because funding is limited, applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Those awarded scholarships are expected to pay any balance not covered by the scholarship. Should you require additional financial assistance, we encourage you to reach out to your school or other community organizations who can often assist with financial support for campers. Check with your local service groups, booster clubs and your school guidance counselor.
A non-refundable $10 application fee is required to apply for the scholarship. This is used to hold a place in the desired camp as we review the applications. The $10 application fee is applied to the camp fee if a child or teen participates in camp, whether or not they receive a scholarship.
Are there discounts available?
We do our best to keep camp rates as low as possible for all campers. We offer the following discounts:
Campers who register early can receive the discounted early bird rate.
NIU employees are eligible to receive a discounted rate.
Families who register multiple campers or for multiple camp sessions in a single registration receive a $10 discount on each additional camp as this saves on shipping costs by allowing us to mail all materials in one shipment.