Challenge Program at Saint Vincent College
Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA., located at the base of the Laurel Highlands. Home to Arnie Palmer, Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve, Fred Rogers Center, and Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp, SVC has a long standing tradition of hospitality. SVC Education Department, has been hosting the Challenge Program since 1982. It serves young people ages Preschool through 12th grade. This year’s program dates are June 24-29 for the overnight opportunity (5th -12th grades) and June 25-29 for the day opportunity (PreK-4th). Day attendees are grouped by age and enjoy an age appropriate version of the overnight program, including a daily immersive activity.
The program is currently under the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Beining, assistant professor and director in the education department. I wanted to update the program, while still keeping the traditions and the structure of the original and highly successful program. Challenge was initially a program for junior and senior high school students to explore career options and engage in a collegial setting in preparation for choosing a college. We wanted to keep that tradition alive, while offering more opportunities for young people.
In making the program appeal to young people and to tie the week’s events together, we incorporated a theme for each summer. This theme can be evidenced in the courses, but is focused in the dorm life and in the social events that happen throughout the week. We want this to be a fun as well as a learning experience for the young people. Many make lifelong friends at the program.
I am proud to be the director of such a beloved program of the college. As the current director she is I enjoy the full circle moments that started well before my tenure as director. I have hired former attendees as camp counselors, instructors and administrative staff. I have met former attendees dropping off their own children to attend the program. One couple met at Challenge, married, and now their children attend.
In the latest version of the program, titled, Challenge Immersion, teens choose a morning and afternoon immersion (3 hours, each of 5 days) in which to immerse themselves. Immersions include: arts, drama, dance, sciences, fairy gardens at WPNR, sky art in the campus planetarium and art studio, mock trial, robotics at the IU, CSI, and equestrian options at the SVC Equestrian farm. Immersions provide opportunity to explore a potential career or passion, supported by a knowledgeable instructor.
Evening entertainment opportunities this year include, skating at a local rink, SVC pool party, and dinner dance at SVC Grove.
All counselors are students in good standing in the SVC education department, training to become teachers. Instructors are all certified teachers or professionals in their field, most are graduates of SVC and many are alumni of the Challenge Program.
Preschool and Kindergarten children attend M-F from 9:00am through noon and 1st through 4th graders attend M-F from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.
Join us on the expansive, country setting and enjoy what Challenge at SVC has to offer.