When: June 25 – 29, 2019

Where: West Virginia State University (Institute, WV)

Contact: J.R. Luyster at (304) 558-0655

Get ready!

  • Directions

    West Virginia State University is located in Institute (Kanawha County). Nine miles west of Charleston on Interstate 64, take exit 50 (for Institute). Turn left at the stop sign at the end of the ramp onto US Highway 25. At the first light, take a right and take the first right into Parking Area C. Get directions

  • Arrival instructions

    There will be signs and camp counselors to help direct students and families to the nearest parking area. From the parking area, signs and camp counselors will help direct you to Ferrell Hall for camp registration and the opening ceremony. Following the opening ceremony, families will be able to drive from the parking area, through the center of campus via the closed access road, directly to Keith Scholars Hall in order to unload and move into the residence hall.

  • Hashtags, etc.

    Post your camp pictures and updates using the #GUU19 hashtag. And follow @wvgearup on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more pics!

  • Family handbook

    Download the handbook.


GEAR UP U is a 5-day/4-night summer academy that will be held at West Virginia State University from June 25 – 29, 2019. Participants will live on campus, take fun classes, develop their leadership skills, and meet students from across the state.

FAQs for parents

What kind of camp is GEAR UP U? GEAR UP U is an overnight academic camp that focuses on high school preparation, college and career planning, and leadership development.

What/who is GEAR UP? West Virginia GEAR UP is a federally funded grant program intended to help you and your student plan, apply, and pay for education or training beyond high school.

What will my student do at camp? Your student will participate in academic classes, physical wellness activities, college mentoring, and leadership development.

Where will my student stay? West Virginia State University (Institute, WV) will provide students with lodging. Classes will be held on campus and in the immediate area surrounding West Virginia State University. Should transportation be required to and from classes, GEAR UP U and West Virginia State University staff will transport students.

What are my responsibilities? As a parent, we expect you to make sure your student understands the GEAR UP U rules and expectations. If your student breaks the rules, you will be responsible for picking him or her up early. You are also expected to provide or arrange for transportation to and from West Virginia State University and to help your student prepare/pack for camp.

Will my student need money? All meals and school supplies will be provided by West Virginia GEAR UP. If you would like your student to have additional “spending money” that is permitted, but not required.

Who else will be there? Students from each of West Virginia GEAR UP’s high schools will attend. WV GEAR UP serves schools in 10 counties and there will be between 200 – 250 students at camp.

Who supervises camp, and who will keep my student safe? Safety and supervision are very important to us. GEAR UP U will have a full staff, which includes the following:

  • Professional staff members from West Virginia GEAR UP
  • Camp supervisors who also work in West Virginia GEAR UP schools (teachers, counselors and principals)
  • Camp counselors (college students)
  • Resident advisors (college employees)
  • Security officers
  • Camp nurse

Additionally, medical and liability insurance have been purchased by camp organizers in case of an emergency.

How much does camp cost?

GEAR UP U is FREE, but parents do have the responsibility of providing or arranging for transportation for their student to and from West Virginia State University in Institute, WV (Kanawha County). Parents must also help their student prepare for camp and provide them with items such as proper clothing, toiletries, etc.

Will the boys and girls be together or separately? During day and evening hours, all students will attend classes and sessions together. At night, girls and boys will be housed separately. Students are forbidden to have a member of the opposite gender in their rooms.

How can I contact my student? If your student has a cell phone, you may talk to him or her during “free time.” Your student will also have access to a phone at the residence hall and on campus if he or she wishes to call home. Emergency phone numbers will be provided for attendees and their parents.

My student takes medication. How/when will this be administered and by whom? Prior to attending camp, students and parents will be asked to complete a medical release form. By completing this form, you will be granting our camp nurse the permission and instructions to retain and administer medication to your student.

Can I visit my student at camp? Of course — we would never keep parents away from their student. However, we would like for GEAR UP U to be a learning experience that helps students develop more responsibility and independence and would prefer that parents attend camp only during the designated parent time periods on the first and last days. Arrangements can and will be made for special circumstances.

My student has special dietary needs. What arrangements can you make for this? Prior to attending camp, students and parents will be asked to complete an enrollment packet which will give you the opportunity to outline any dietary needs. Additionally, meals will be buffet-style and students will be able to choose his or her own food from many options provided.

My student is always hungry. Will he or she get enough to eat? All three meals are buffet-style, which means your student can eat as much as he or she wants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We will also provide snacks in the evening.

Will my student have a roommate? Can he or she request to room with a particular student? Your student will have a roommate. The goal is to room each student with another student that attends the same school. Students may request a particular student as a roommate, and we will attempt to accommodate these requests.

FAQs for students

What kind of camp is GEAR UP U? Well… we don’t like to brag, but GEAR UP U might be the best camp EVER. You’ll get to…

  • learn about and prepare for college
  • make new friends from across WV
  • hang out on a college campus
  • participate in classes you want to take
  • develop leadership skills to be even more awesome

What will I do at GEAR UP U? You will be required to attend classes (some that we choose and some that you choose). You will also participate in several leadership development workshops and some very cool activities. College students will act as your counselors and they will help you get ready for college.

What are my responsibilities? At GEAR UP U, we will treat you with respect and allow you some freedom — but you have to respect the camp staff and the rules. We expect you to make it to all GEAR UP U activities on time and to participate. We also expect you to follow the code of conduct. Most of all, we expect a good attitude!

Will I need money? All meals and supplies will be provided by West Virginia GEAR UP. If you would like to have additional “spending money,” that is permitted but not required.

Who else will be there? Students from West Virginia GEAR UP’s other schools will attend — around 200 students total.

Will I share a room with someone? Yes, you will have a roommate (just like in college). We will try very hard to room you with someone from your school and/or someone you have requested to room with.

Can I bring my cell phone and other gadgets? Yes, there will be certain time periods that you are allowed to use these items. You are responsible for the safety and care of these items.

Will boys and girls be allowed to hang out together? Yes, but only during supervised activities and NEVER in the residence hall rooms. If you get caught mingling with students of the opposite sex in the residence hall rooms, you’ll be kicked out of camp — no excuses, no exceptions.

How can I contact my parents? If you have a cell phone, you can call them during your free time. If you don’t, the counselors can give you access to a phone.