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APPLYING TO SUMMA
WHAT IS THE COST OF APPLYING TO SUMMA?
SUMMA Camp 2024 costs $1420. This fee includes all lodging, meals, and program materials. A non-refundable registration fee of $250 contributes to this total fee.
HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO APPLY TO SUMMA?
For the 2024 session, SUMMA accepts students entering the 9th through 12th grades in Fall 2024.
WHERE DO I APPLY TO SUMMA?
You can apply on our website here.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY TO SUMMA?
Applications for SUMMA Camp 2024 are now open and the official review of applications begins on January 15, 2024. We strongly recommend that prospective campers apply early and before the review of applications begins.
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR APPLYING TO SUMMA?
We will read and consider applications through May 31, 2024.
WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY?
You will need 1) the name and contact information for one reference and 2) a copy of your high school transcripts (unofficial transcripts are fine). The application should take between 30-45 minutes to complete.
IF I AM ACCEPTED TO SUMMA, WHEN IS PAYMENT DUE?
Payment for camp comes in two parts:
- A non-refundable deposit of $250 is due approximately two weeks after your acceptance to camp arrives. The deposit constitutes your registration for camp and reserves your spot in the program. You can submit that HERE (link forthcoming).
- The remaining balance is due approximately one month after your acceptance to camp arrives. You can submit that balance HERE (link forthcoming).
ARE THERE TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE?
Our sincere hope is that the cost of camp never deters someone from coming to SUMMA. Thanks to a generous gift from SUMMA's founder, the Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller III, tuition scholarships that cover all or part of camp (minus the non-refundable $250 registration fee) are available for this year's program. We consider a variety of factors in distributing scholarship funds, including the camper's application, recommendations, and financial need. Please visit our tuition scholarships page here to learn more and submit your application (which you can submit directly here). We encourage campers to apply early and to contact us with any questions.
Are there any required forms for summa?
Yes. Campers and parents are required to complete and submit five forms before arrival to camp. These are 1) Health & Safety Acknowledgement for Minors; 2) Camper Standards of Conduct; 3) Camper Media Consent and Release Agreement; 4) Camper Release and Indemnification Form; and 5) Camper Medical Form. All forms are available online on our Camper Forms page and you can submit all forms directly here. All camper forms are due by June 1, 2024.
WHAT IF THE PERSON SUBMITTING MY RECOMMENDATION CANNOT LOCATE THE RECOMMENDATION FORM?
Your recommenders will automatically receive a form to their email inbox when you apply. Be sure to enter the correct email address. First, your recommender should check the spam or junk folder. If it is not there, you can direct the recommender to the form here. Note: Be sure your recommender uses the exact name and email address for you that is listed on your application.
WHAT IF I AM ACCEPTED TO SUMMA BUT CANNOT ATTEND AND NEED TO CANCEL? CAN I GET A REFUND ON THE CAMP TUITION?
All tuition and fees, minus your non-refundable $250 registration fee, will be refunded up to 14 days before the program begins if a camper is unable to attend for any reason. Within 14 days of the camp's start date, no tuition refunds will be possible.
I am not a religious person and/or of the Episcopal Faith. Can i still apply to summa?
Yes! SUMMA embraces participants of all (or no) religious faith traditions. It is, in fact, our belief that the more diverse our program is each summer, the greater the opportunity is for an enriched experience where a plurality of voices and viewpoints can be welcomed, heard, and explored.
I have no debate experience and am rather anxious about the prospect of getting up in front of an audience. Can i still apply to summa?
Yes, we hope you will! SUMMA is open to debaters at levels. Novice debaters will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of "theological debate" with award-winning professors and practitioners sensitive to the natural anxiety that comes with speaking in public. Seasoned debaters will benefit from the opportunity to consider anew how "debate" and "speaking truth in love" can co-exist when our contemporary models of public discourse often reflect a less nuanced and less loving approach to controversial topics.
I am non-binary/transgender. am i welcome at camp?
Indeed, yes! The camp application includes an area for you to indicate your gender identity and to supply your pronouns. The Program Director will work with you directly to ensure you are housed in a way that makes you feel safe and comfortable. SUMMA also collaborates with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to ensure that we create and sustain a community of belonging for all program participants.
THE CAMP EXPERIENCE
where do summa campers stay?
All campers stay on the campus of The University of the South in a dormitory with the Camp Director and counselors. This year, SUMMA will occupy Benedict Hall, which is located in the heart of campus and has suites with attached bathrooms, a common room, a kitchen, and on-site laundry facilities that campers can use free of charge (please bring your own laundry detergent).
where do campers eat?
All camp meals at McClurg Dining Hall are covered in the tuition fee. Campers enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner at "Clurg" and also have access to other campus eateries while at SUMMA, including the popular Stirling's Coffee House. Dining at Sewanee includes access to fresh, locally made food, as well as options for vegetarian and vegan program participants. Allergen-free options are available as well. If you have specific dietary needs, please list those on the Medical Form.
what do i need to bring to camp?
There is a comprehensive list of what to bring on our What To Bring page!
how much money do i need to bring?
All camp fees, room and board, meals, and materials are covered in your camp tuition fee. You may wish to bring some extra spending money for coffee and snacks at Stirling's or souvenirs at the University bookstore.
what does a typical day at SUMMA look like?
Learn more on our Camp Life page!
how does debate look at summa?
Each year at SUMMA, campers arrive and the top-secret camp resolution is unveiled at the Opening Orientation. The resolution is a values-based proposition that has to do with a contested, many-sided theological question. This resolution is the sole topic of debate for that particular camp session. Debaters spend several days researching the different sides of the resolution and prepare cases to argue in favor of the resolution (The Affirmative position) or against the resolution (The Negative position). At the end-of-camp tournament, campers will be prepared to argue both sides of the resolution across several rounds. SUMMA follows Lincoln-Douglas debate format, which means debaters 1) deliver an opening speech; 2) engage in cross-examination; and 3) offer closing rebuttals. Past camp resolutions have included the separation of church and state, civil disobedience, whether churches should be gun-free zones, and many more.
What do the lectures in theology and debate look like?
For the first full five days of camp, SUMMA debaters will attend two lectures per day where there will be opportunity for instruction, dialogue, and debate. Theology lectures focus on how different religious traditions come to bear on the camp resolution, while tackling more broadly the question of "faith seeking understanding." Debate lectures provide the fundamentals of Lincoln-Douglas debate, writing and revising speeches, and engaging opponents through cross-examination while, at the same time, "speaking truth in love." Lectures are interactive and meant to help prepare participants not only for debating at SUMMA, but also for speaking effectively and ethically as engaged citizens in their homes, schools, congregations, and communities.
What do seminars look like?
Each camper participates in a small-group seminar to further discuss the material covered in the Theology Lectures. Seminars offer additional time and space to dig deeply into questions about the resolution and how different theological traditions come to bear on the resolution.
who leads the seminars?
Seminar leaders bring different kinds of expertise and wisdom to a context where campers can continue exploring the theological aspects of the camp resolution. Past seminar leaders have included faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of the South, the School of Theology at The University of the South, church leaders, and visiting guests. Here are some recent seminar leaders:
- Faculty in the English Department at The University of the South: Dr. Virginia Craighill, Dr. Bill Engel, Dr. Ross MacDonald, and Dr. Lauryl Tucker
- Faculty in the Politics Department at The University of the South: Dr. Amy Patterson
- Faculty in the Philosophy Department at The University of the South: Dr. Mark Hopwood
- Faculty in the Religious Studies Department at The University of the South: Dr. Eric Thurman
- Faculty and staff from the School of Theology at The University of the South: Walker Adams, Dr. Courtney Cowart, Dr. Robert MacSwain, Dr. Andy Thompson
- Clergy at All Saints' Chapel at The University of the South: Dr. Melissa Hartley
- Research Help Librarians at The University of the South: Linnea Minich and Prof. Romulus Stefanut
- Educational Consultants: Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton
- Clergy of the Episcopal Church: Rev. Duncan Gray, Rev. Bishop Gretchen Rehberg
Who are the counselors?
SUMMA counselors are part of the program staff. They are trained and qualified to work with minors, and are deeply familiar with the campus of The University of the South. Most counselors are undergraduate students at the University and are former SUMMA campers themselves. Many study rhetoric, argumentation, and debate, and/or work as a peer tutor in the Center for Speaking & Listening. SUMMA counselors are campus leaders and peer mentors capable of supporting campers as they navigate the SUMMA experience. Each counselor also leads a "RIPS Group" at camp.
what is a "rips group"?
SUMMA campers are placed in one of several "RIPS" Groups. RIPS stands for: Remember, Inquire, Prepare, and Speak. RIPS groups provide a supportive community for campers to discuss debate strategies, share research, develop arguments, and practice speeches. Campers do not debate a member of their RIPS Group. For the first five days of camp, RIPS groups meet in the afternoon following lectures.
What do campers do for fun at summa?
SUMMA is not just work! Campers have an abundance of options for fun and relaxation on our beautiful domain. Free time activities include touring campus, taking a hike, stopping by Stirling's Coffee Shop, perusing the University bookstore, working out at the Fowler Center, visiting the University farm, and much more. SUMMA annual traditions for evening activities include a movie night, SUMMA's Got Talent, a digital scavenger hunt, and more. Visit our "Camp Life" page here to learn more.
is there internet and printing access on campus?
Yes! We are a wireless campus and all SUMMA campers will be able to use internet while here. Campers will have access to computers and printing in duPont Library.
can i bring a laptop to camp?
Yes, in fact, we highly recommend that you do. But if you do not have a laptop, that is fine and you can still do well at camp.
is summa on social media?
Yes! Follow us on social media for the latest news, updates, SUMMA Stories, and more! Tag us in your posts for this year's camp with #summadebate2024. You can find us on Instagram @summadebate and on Twitter @summadebate.
travel and logistics
when do i need to arrive?
Camp 2024 begins on July 16. Check-in at Benedict Dorm begins at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Campers can arrive and check-in and move into their rooms at any point during this period. SUMMA Orientation starts promptly at 4:30 p.m.
WHEre should we park?
Benedict Hall is at the corner of University Avenue and Mississippi Avenue. Directly across from the dormitory is a parking lot where arriving campers and their families can park and unload. Parking is free.
my child needs to fly to attend camp. how should we plan?
We highly recommend you plan to fly through the Nashville International Airport, which is about an hour-and-a-half from Sewanee. Ground transportation from Nashville to Monteagle, TN (very near the university) is available via Groome, and a program staff member can pick up/take your child to the shuttle stop at the beginning and end of camp. For departures at the end of camp, all program participants must be out of Benedict Hall by 10:00 a.m. We can take campers to the shuttle stop, make the trip to Nashville, check in, and arrive to the gate. When making your reservation, please be mindful that you enter the correct days, times, and locations. If you have questions, please write to us at email@example.com and we will be glad to help you finalize the correct reservation.
I am traveling with my child via flight. where can i stay?
There are a number of on-campus or nearby accommodations available.