Ohio Wesleyan is adding a new OWjL day camp this summer to complement its longstanding residential camp. Collectively, the camps serve talented and gifted pupils in grades four through eight throughout Ohio. Here, 2023 campers use science to solve a 'Murder in the Chem Lab' whodunit. (Photo courtesy of OWjL)

Soaring Opportunities

Ohio Wesleyan Expands Summer OWjL Programming to Serve Talented and Gifted Youth Statewide

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – For the first time in its 43-year history, Ohio Wesleyan University's OWjL program is adding a summer day camp to serve talented and gifted pupils in grades four through six throughout the state.

The new day camp, to be held in July, joins OWjL's popular residential camp, which annually invites talented and gifted sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders to spend a week in June living and learning on the Ohio Wesleyan campus.

"More than 85 percent of Ohio's identified gifted students did not receive special services during the 2022-2023 school year," said Josie Bair, director of the Ohio Wesleyan/Junior League of Columbus (OWjL) program. "For many campers, the OWjL experience is the first to confirm that being bright is rewarding, fun, and a gift worth developing."

OWjL campers typically choose from up to 50 classes to expand their knowledge of science, mathematics, computing, creative development, humanities, and the arts. The classes are designed to be fun and engaging, with recent examples including "3D Printing: How to Engineer for the Future," "A Taste of Hogwarts," and "Hunger Games: Can You Survive?"

The campers are taught by Ohio Wesleyan faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as national board-certified secondary school teachers, teachers of gifted and talented students, and other experts in their fields. They also are mentored by camp counselors including students from Ohio Wesleyan and other colleges and universities.

OWjL camp also is expanding its service area and currently is accepting applications from qualified students throughout the state. To apply, students must meet Ohio's definition of giftedness and use the online form at owu.edu/OWjL to submit an essay, two teacher recommendations, and a copy of their academic record completed by a gifted coordinator, guidance counselor, or principal.

The 2024 OWjL schedule includes three, one-week residential camp sessions that run from June 9-14, June 16-21, and June 23-28, and one weeklong day camp session that runs from July 22-26.

The Ohio Wesleyan/Junior League of Columbus camp was founded in 1981 after a two-year study that determined the region's gifted and talented middle school students were underserved during the school year and would benefit from programs to promote discovery and foster skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, research, leadership, and communication.

Financial support for the OWjL program includes a newly awarded $7,000 grant from the David and Catherine Erickson Fund, Amos Family Donor Advised Fund, and Robert Weiler Family Fund, administered by the Delaware County Foundation.

Learn more about OWjL and access the 2024 application form at owu.edu/OWjL.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives" and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review "Best Colleges" lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.