Designed to challenge South Dakota’s gifted middle and high school students, these camps allow students to study with University faculty in the arts, sciences, and technology, emphasizing creativity and teamwork. The theme for this year’s camps is "Be the Difference!"

Open to students entering seventh, eighth and ninth grades in the fall of 2008, the Governor’s Camp begins Sunday, July 27 and runs through Friday, Aug. 1. Campers attend classes, participate in team-building and service activities, develop creative challenges, and complete individual and group demonstration projects. New applicants need to provide a recommendation from a school official.

The Ambassadors of Excellence program, for students entering 10th, 11th and 12th grades in fall of 2008, begins Monday, July 21 and continues through Friday, Aug. 1. Emphasis for the Ambassadors is on creative and performing arts, academics and leadership. Ambassadors also work as mentors to their middle school counterparts during the Governor’s Camp. Campers can choose from more than 40 different class offerings as well as a variety of evening recreational activities. They also work in teams to complete service related to the camp theme and showcase their projects before the end of the camp.

"We are proud to celebrate the silver anniversary of the South Dakota Governor’s Camp and the 20th anniversary of the Ambassadors of Excellence," said Tim Duggan, Ed.D., director of Gifted Programs at USD, who noted that this year’s camps will be among the best ever.

Tuition for the Governor’s Camp is $375 while tuition for the Ambassadors of Excellence is $475. Included in the tuition fee are housing in USD residence halls, three daily meals, all camp activities and limited insurance. The camp is supported by the South Dakota Department of Education and Gov. Mike Rounds. Many communities and schools help offset the cost of coming to camp through scholarships or financial aid. Interested students should talk to their school counselors, administrators or gifted coordinators for information on financial aid.

The South Dakota Governor’s Camp was founded in 1984 by Drs. Bruce Milne and Carole Kasen, and has served more than 4,500 children since that time. For more information or to apply for the 2008 camps, please contact Tim Duggan in the USD School of Education at (312) 576-1434, e-mail, or visit the camp Web site at

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