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About The Academy
What makes The Academy unique?
Is everyone at the camp a Christian?
What's a Wheatstone Mentor?
What is a theme text and a discussion text?
Why are we engaging non-Christian books, films, music, etc. at a Christian camp?
What is the Leaders Track?
What forms do I need to submit?
Can I make payments by check?
Can I set up partial or automatic payments?
Is financial aid available?
Post-Registration Camp Preparation
What do I need to do before I arrive?
What should I bring?
How well do I need to know the texts?
Where will camp check-in be?
What will my room be like?
Who will my Mentor be?
What film, art, music, theater will we experience?
What are the Monday activities? What if I'm not athletic?
Can I pick my roommate?
Will Wheatstone staff be staying with us?
What is Wheatstone's safety policy?
What if I have special medical needs?
Is there a dress code?
Can I bring my cell phone and other electronics?
How can parents reach their students during the camp?
How do you hire staff and faculty?
Are visitors allowed?
What if I’m coming from out of town?
Since I'm flying from out of town, how early can I arrive for camp, and how late can I depart?
What if I'm driving myself to the camp?
About The Academy
Q: What makes The Academy unique?
Rite of Passage - No other camp is explicitly designed according to the pattern of a rite of passage. The Academy is professionally designed to help students desire and claim an adult identity.
Real Training - No other camp focuses to such a strong degree on teaching not what to think or feel, but how to think, feel, and act like Jesus.
Mere Christianity - The Academy supports the teaching and practices of students' churches, pointing them back to their parents and pastors, rather than offering a differing approach and perspective.
Arts and Culture - The Academy has a uniquely strong focus on arts and culture as well as theology and philosophy. It impacts students in heart, in soul, in mind, and in strength.
Mentors, Scholars, and Artists - Our mentors are exceptional, often pursuing or holding degrees from places like Oxford, Yale, Stanford, Purdue, UCLA, and USC. We offer an 8-to-1 student-to-mentor ratio and a 6-to-1 student-to-staff ratio. Students get face-to-face time with incredible scholars and practicing Christian artists. It's a truly unparalleled community and an unparalleled experience.
Leaders Track - The Academy offers youth pastors and other Christian leaders a parallel experience to the student track, one that equips them to invite their youth into Christian adulthood when they go home.
Q: Is everyone at the camp a Christian?
Yes. All students, staff, and faculty at The Academy camps are Christians. Since the camp focuses on sanctification and Christian maturity, we believe commitment to Jesus Christ and participation in his church is vital to the camp's success. As such, we will not hire staff members or admit students whom we believe are not earnest in their faith.
Wheatstone Ministries is a Christian ministry committed to inviting youth into Christian adulthood. Many faithful denominations are represented by the staff and students who attend.
To see more, visit the What We Believe page.
Q: What's a Wheatstone Mentor?
High-Quality Young Christian Leaders - At the camp, each student is assigned to a small group headed by a Wheatstone Mentor. Mentors are some of the most important people at The Academy camps. They're exceptional Christians in their 20s who are actively pursuing graduate degrees or careers. Many come from programs at schools like Oxford, Yale, Purdue, UCLA, and USC. Others represent such professions as teachers, designers, entrepreneurs, youth pastors, writers, artists, and more. They are uniquely trained, experienced and practiced in discussion leading.
Each of our mentors has unique strengths, talents, and passions; they are the type of well-rounded people that we encourage students to become. They exemplify Christian adulthood. Mentors come alongside each student in their group, guiding them in discussion, empowering them to explore the depths of Christianity, and encouraging them as stewards of culture.
About Small Groups - Small groups are usually comprised of 7 or 8 students; they do not exceed 10 students in size. Students do not spend the majority of their camp week in large lecture halls, taking notes. Instead, they spend it one-on-one or in small groups having discussions and adventures with their Mentors.
Q: What is a theme text and a discussion text?
Theme Text - The theme text is the foundation for all the camp's talks, music, graphic design, and other thematic elements. It's the first focus point for the whole week.
This year, our theme text is 1 John, because it responds to the question, "How do I know if I am saved?" in multiple ways, it hints at a uniquely Christian epistemology, and it calls readers to a life of holiness. It helps us look past the shadows of this life and hope for the light of God in our lives.
Discussion Text - The discussion text is a book we choose for Mentors to discuss with their small groups all week long. It is a difficult but accessible work of philosophy that raises the kinds of questions that new adults always ask. We use the discussion text for a kind of intellectual boot camp. By discussing it, students learn how to think well about everything.
This year, our discussion text is Meno, by Plato, because it raises interesting questions about knowledge and certainty, it helps readers desire Christlike virtues, it models good and bad discussion participation, and it suggests the need for faith-based knowledge and character development.
Q: Why are we engaging non-Christian books, films, music, etc. at a Christian camp?
Showing Big Christianity - One of the main purposes of The Academy is to show students that Christ rules over the whole world -- that, like Jonah, students can't go anywhere or experience anything that takes them outside his kingship. Before heading off to college or careers where non-Christian content will be everywhere, it's important for students to learn how to explore the world faithfully in the context of vibrant Christian community.
For that reason, The Academy includes books, films, music, arts, and other experiences that aren't specifically Christian. During a week bathed in prayer and Bible study, it's appropriate for students to learn how to engage non-Christian content Christianly.
About the Discussion Text - One of the pieces of non-Christian content we get asked about most frequently is our discussion text. We ask students to read a carefully-selected non-Christian book at the beginning of camp, and we ask them to discuss it in small groups multiple times during camp. This year's discussion text is Meno, by Plato. We didn't select this book because we think it is true like the Bible is, or because we think a Platonic approach to understanding the world is correct. We selected it because it is a good, hard book to discuss that is still accessible to most reading levels. We also selected it because it relates to big ideas in the this year's camp theme and biblical text (1 John), and because it models the sort of rigorous discussion that we'll ask students to have with one another. Finally, despite it being a non-Christian text, the discussion of its ideas is predominantly spiritually edifying.
Some people wonder why we don't use the Bible for our discussion text in addition to using it as our theme text. We don't for three main reasons:
- To teach students how to engage with non-Christian books Christianly.
- To support local denominational preaching and theological training. The local church is important. We want students to go to their pastors for their theological teaching, not us. That allows us to serve churches rather than replacing them, and it allows us to create a Christian camp environment.
- To enable us to focus on our theme text in large-group settings without affecting the free inquiry that happens in small-group discussions.
Q: What is the Leaders Track?
A Parallel Experience for Youth Leaders - The Leaders Track runs parallel to The Academy summer camp, offering youth leaders a behind the curtains look at how Wheatstone invites youth into Christian adulthood. Instead of being asked to work or just sit by, youth leaders have a full retreat experience of their own while their youth experience The Academy Camp.
In Dorms and On Campus - Leaders stay in their own, designated section of Wheatstone's dorms, next to Wheatstone staff members. Just like students, they eat in the cafe and experience a full, week-long schedule of activities, all included in the cost of attendance. Most logistical considerations for leaders, including dress code and packing list, are identical to students, as described below.
Training and Renewal - The Leaders Track offers youth pastors and other leaders a chance to catch new vision and ideas for their ministry. In small cohorts with other youth leaders, led by two Wheatstone Mentors, they experience discussions, arts events, Wheatstone Trainings, speaker interaction, and more to equip them to invite their youth into Christian adulthood.
Q: What forms will I need to submit?
Once you register for a camp, you will need to submit the Pre-Camp Survey, Release Form, and a Medical Form. All forms may be submitted online, or you may download and fax/mail them to us.
These forms will be emailed to you after you complete registration, and you can also find them here.
Q: Can I make payments by check?
Yes. If you prefer not to register using our online system, you may call our offices to register for a camp. Checks should be made payable to Wheatstone Ministries and mailed to:
140 E Commonwealth Ave, Suite 120
Fullerton, CA 92832
Please write the name of the camp participant(s) in the memo field of your check.
Q: Can I set up partial or automatic payments?
Yes. If you don't want to pay your camp balance all at once, you can submit partial payments or set up an automatic payment plan. Please note that your balance must be paid in full by July 1, 2018.
Q: Is financial aid available?
Yes. We offer sponsorships, early registration discounts, and group discounts.
Sponsorships - Wheatstone's donors offer limited sponsorships to families with financial need. We have never turned a student away because of their financial need. You can apply to receive a sponsorship here. You can contribute to the Sponsorship Fund here.
Early Discount - Additionally, you can get $100 off camp just by registering by March 31, 2018.
Group Discount - Groups may also be eligible for discounts. Whenever a group of 5 students and 1 leader attend from the same church or school, that church or school receives $950 in camp credits from Wheatstone to distribute within the group as they see fit. Get in touch to get started.
Other options - In the past, students have also had success raising funds through support letters, youth group fundraisers, church mission or education funds, and fund-matching challenges from family members.
Post-Registration Camp Preparation
Q: What do I need to do before I arrive?
Before you arrive at a camp, please do the following:
- Read the theme text (1 John) and the discussion text (Meno), which will be emailed to you in June.
- Read all emailed camp updates.
- Pay your balance by July 1.
- Submit your Pre-Camp Survey and Medical Form by July 1.
- Pray for your upcoming experience. Ask God's blessing on the speakers, staff, educators, and students.
Q: What should I bring?
When packing for the camp, plan to bring:
- Personal necessities (toiletries, sunscreen, etc.)
- General attire (appropriate summer casual clothing, walking shoes, sweater or jacket)
- Monday adventure attire (comfortable athletic clothes)
- Museum and theatre attire (comfortable but nice outfit with a sweater or jacket, comfortable shoes)
- Dressy outfit for the Friday night reception
Blankets, pillows, linens, and towels are provided, but many students prefer to bring their own as well.
You will receive a complete packing list with additional details in a packet that will be emailed to you prior to camp.
Q: How well do I need to know the texts?
Basic Familiarity - Students attending The Academy should expect to spend between 5 and 10 hours of time with the texts (1 John & Meno) before camp. The more familiar you are with the themes, characters, and central questions of your text, the deeper and more enjoyable your discussions will be.
Having said that, we also acknowledge that most students will find the texts very challenging. Do not feel concerned if this is you. Confusion is totally ok! Just keep going. When you have questions, make a note in the margin or along the bottom of the page. Our mentors will help you navigate the important issues of the text and lead you in helpful discussions.
Q: Where will camp check-in be?
See your June registration packet - Wheatstone will send you a registration packet the month prior to the camp. Inside, you will find driving directions to the hosting university and the name of the check-in building.
On check-in day, we will also have campus signs directing you to the appropriate parking lot and to the check-in table.
Q: What will my room be like?
Dormitory Housing - You will be staying with one or two roommates in a dorm room on the university campus. A bathroom will be nearby or attached to your room. These rooms are furnished with desks, chairs, closets, and dorm-style beds. Linens and towels will be provided.
Dorm rooms, floors, and bathrooms are not co-ed. Men and women are assigned to separate floors, and Wheatstone staff stay in close proximity to students, on the same floors in separate rooms. We take necessary precautions for student privacy and accountability.
Q: Who will my Mentor be?
Carefully-selected Mentors and Groups - We carefully and prayerfully consider each student for weeks before placing him or her in a Mentor's group, using their Pre-Camp Survey and public information online. We take into account a student's interests, ambitions, background, and personality as we select a Mentor who will guide him or her through the camp. Students meet their Mentors and small groups on the first day of the camp.
Except in very exceptional circumstances, attendees may not have a say in who their Mentor or small group members are, since changing one person's small group assignment may impact the carefully-constructed interpersonal dynamics of multiple groups.
Q: What are the Monday activities? What if I'm not athletic?
Epic Monday - Monday is the first full day of the camp, and it is spent with your small group doing a number of different physical challenges and initiative activities. The day ends with a hike around sunset. These activities are designed for all types of students, athletic and otherwise. They allow but do not require vigorous physical activity to complete them.
If you have concerns about your participation on Monday of the camp week, please contact us. We can make special arrangements if they will help you participate more fully.
Q: Can I pick my roommate?
Yes. If you have a friend who is also attending the camp, you may request to share a room with him or her when you fill out your Pre-Camp Survey.
Q: Will Wheatstone staff be staying with us?
Yes. All of the camp Mentors stay in separate rooms on student floors (female mentors on the women's floor, male mentors on the men's floor). Mentors are available to students at all times during the camp, including in the evenings before lights out. They are happy to participate in activities, in pickup discussions, and to assist you with any needs you have during your stay.
Q: What is Wheatstone's safety policy?
Staff Availability - The Wheatstone camp staff is available to participants 24/7 and provides constant supervision during and between scheduled events. Students are not permitted to leave the campus except for scheduled activities, and they are expected to attend all sessions. At night, students are not permitted outside of the dorm building.
Medical Readiness - Wheatstone keeps medical supplies on hand and has information about all the closest medical facilities.
Campus Safety - In addition, the hosting university's campus safety services are on call at Wheatstone's disposal during the week.
Q: What if I have special medical needs?
Medical History - Prior to attending the camp, all students are required to complete a medical history form. Parents should ensure that any special medical needs or medications are properly listed. If you require any special attention, the camp staff will follow up with you prior to the camp to clarify our role in caring for you.
Unless otherwise directed, we allow students to manage their own medications.
Q: Is there a dress code?
Dress for the week is casual, except for the Friday dessert reception and recital (Your emailed packing list will have more information). Wear clothes appropriate for Los Angeles summer weather (usually hot and dry).
Both men and women should avoid revealing or enticing clothing. Since what counts as revealing or enticing is often culturally relative, Wheatstone staff reserves the right to suggest to any participants that their attire is, in the context of the people attending the camp, revealing or enticing, and to ask them to change it for the sake of group unity. We expect participants to be appropriate and mature in these types of decisions. We do our best to treat all students like mature adults.
Q: Can I bring my cell phone and other electronics?
Yes, but we discourage or prohibit using them during activities. As such, you will have very little time to use them during the camp week. For that reason, we do encourage students to leave all or most of their electronics at home. They can distract you from one of the best parts of camp experience: the people!
All students are encouraged to take notes in the provided camp notebook.
Q: How can my parents reach me during camp?
Personal calls - The Wheatstone week provides very little time during the day for conversation with family and friends at home. Meal times and late evenings are best for quick calls if communication is desired. Parents are encouraged to stay informed and involved in the camp experience by following the live blog on Wheatstone Ministries' website, updated daily during the camp.
Emergencies - In case of emergency, the phone numbers for camp directors, the Wheatstone office, and the university will be included in the registration packet sent to the student one month prior to camp. Parents may use these numbers to get in contact with their students in case of an emergency any time of the day.
Q: How do you hire your staff and faculty?
Christian adulthood - Wheatstone Ministries selects faculty and staff who exemplify the life that Wheatstone promotes through a commitment to mature Christianity, to professional excellence, and to personal integrity.
Discussion leaders - Mentors are selected on the basis of their communication skills and discussion experience. All of them have had at least 200 hours of formal discussion training, though many have over 1,000 hours. We hire mentors who regularly attend church and who have a reputation among their peers and advisers for positive leadership.
Beliefs - All Wheatstone employees are passionate about serving Jesus Christ, pursuing God's truth, and knowing the Scriptures. See the What We Believe Page for more information.
Q: Are visitors allowed at camp?
No. Visitors to the camp are not allowed except in special circumstances. These exceptions must be approved by the Camp Director before the camp begins, and a partial fee may be required.
Closing Ceremony - Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend the closing ceremony on the last day of the week. The closing ceremony honors student participants and commissions them for life after Wheatstone. Details on the start time and location of this event will be provided with student registration materials. After dropping off their students, parents are asked not to attend any other parts of the camp, but they can follow the camp live blog to get a sense for their students' experience.
Q: What if I’m coming from out-of-state?
No problem. As long as you can fly to the camp, camp staff members will be at the airport ready and waiting for you. They will drive you to the camp and drive you back to the airport at the end of the camp. Please send your itinerary to us by July 1st.
We support the following airports:
- Preferred: John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA)
- Alternate: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Q: Since I'm flying from out of town, how early can I arrive for the summer camp, and how late can I depart?
Same-day flights - We are not able to check-in participants or provide airport transportation or housing until the day the camp begins. Ideally, students flying to the camp should arrive at the nearest airport between 10:00am and 12:00pm the day of camp.
Similarly, we are not able to extend housing or supervision beyond the final event of the camp week. Transportation to the airport on the last day of the camp will be available immediately following the final event, which will end around 12:00pm.
Q: What if I'm driving myself to the camp?
Parking Pass - If you are a student or educator who will be driving yourself to the camp, we will provide you with a campus parking pass and direct you to the appropriate parking lot. Please let us know if you will require a parking pass.
You will not be permitted to leave campus during the camp in your car, and parking is limited, so we encourage participants to be dropped off and picked up from the camp when possible.