Designed to challenge and support South Dakota’s gifted high school students, the 22nd Ambassadors of Excellence Program, is a unique camp open to students entering 10th, 11th and 12th grades in fall of 2010. Participants who attend this camp from July 19 through July 30 will receive opportunities to develop their interests and skills in creative and performing arts, a wide range of academic area choices, creativity, and leadership. Ambassadors will serve as mentors to students participating in the South Dakota Governor’s Camp. Their two weeks on the USD campus culminates in a performance at the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.

Students participating in the 27th annual South Dakota Governor’s Camp, July 25-30, must be entering seventh, eighth and ninth grades in the fall of 2010. Governor’s Camp participants will attend classes, participate in team-building and service activities, develop creative challenges, and complete individual and group demonstration projects. New applicants must also provide a recommendation from a school official. Both the Ambassadors of Excellence and the Governor’s Camp allow students to study with University faculty in the arts, sciences, and technology, emphasizing creativity and teamwork.

“We look forward to this opportunity, providing gifted students with a chance to explore new interests, a forum for their talents, and an introduction to even greater resources and opportunities to enhance their educational experience. Gifted and talented students also need the chance to meet and develop friendships with other gifted students, to know that they are not alone either in the positive experiences or the challenges of seeing the world through gifted eyes.” said Dr. Trudi Nelson, Ed.D., assistant professor of education and director of the South Dakota Governor’s Camp and the South Dakota Center for Education of the Gifted. “This year an emphasis will be placed on creativity. Our theme is ‘you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think’ from A.A. Milne. I encourage students to consider the opportunities that await you here.”

Tuition for the Governor’s Camp is $395 while tuition for the Ambassadors of Excellence is $495. Included in the tuition fees 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. Some communities and schools help offset the cost of attending camp through scholarships or financial aid. Interested students should discuss these options with school counselors, school administrators or gifted coordinators for information on how they can apply for financial aid.

The South Dakota Governor’s Camp was founded in 1984 by Drs. Bruce Milne and Carole Kasen, and has served more than 4,700 youth since that time. The Ambassadors of Excellence Program is sponsored by the School of Education at USD, the South Dakota Department of Education and is endorsed by Gov. Rounds. Participation in a school-sponsored gifted program is not mandatory, as many South Dakota schools do not provide those services.

More information on these camps, as well as application forms and the recommendation form, is available by contacting Nelson in the USD School of Education at (605) 677-6479 or via e-mail at; or by visiting the camp Web site at

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