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National Youth Science Camp


The National Youth Science Camp was founded in 1963, as part of the West Virginia Centennial celebration. Each year since then, two students from each state and the District of Columbia — and since 2020, two students from certain South American or Latin American countries — have been selected to attend this four-week camp in Pocahontas County in the summer following their graduation from high school. Students are chosen through a competitive process. The criteria for selection include academic achievement and an interest in science. From 1963 to 1974, all attendees were male, but since then, the camp has been co-ed.

The goals of the sponsoring National Youth Science Foundation include promoting science leadership and encouraging excellence in science. The camp includes lectures from prominent scientists, hands-on science activities, and outdoor recreation. The National Youth Science Camp is located near Bartow, within the boundaries of the Monongahela National Forest. The camp’s location allows for trips to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, and to Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks, Dolly Sods, and other natural areas. Campers also travel to Washington, where among many other activities they attend a luncheon where they meet with senators from their home states and hear from prominent political speakers.

The National Youth Science Camp is funded by the state of West Virginia and through corporate and private donations. To ensure that financial considerations do not keep deserving students from attending, all delegates attend the camp free of charge.

Written by Amy Donaldson Arnold