Smaller cost a factor in a jCamp move
In the summer of 2013, jCamp will be moving to the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and the cost per camper will be greatly reduced.
In recent years, the fee for jCamp has risen. This year, the regular registration was $545. If a student registered after the June 1 deadline, the price rose to $595 plus a $15 convenience fee.
“We are looking at trying to keep the price point (in) the mid range of the $300s well below $400,” design instructor Chris Waugaman said. “The $500 mark is what we felt like is too difficult for students to maintain.”
Waugaman is the director of the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers. He wants to make the the association’s jCamp affordable for every student.
“It will also help other staffs if they want to offset some of the costs for more people,” Waugaman said. “So let’s say if a staff only pays $100 per person, that’s a much more substantial chunk out of $350 or $375 than $500.”
“I think it would definitely be an easier pull for someone who has to pay out of their own pocket,” junior Cameron Wood said. “I think $150 is a lot. Especially if it’s the same thing in four days.”
Wood and many other students would benefit greatly from a reduced cost. Although this year’s dorms at Virginia Tech are outfitted with air conditioning, new appliances, and flat screen TVs in the common rooms, a cheaper price at Washington and Lee would still benefit the students.
Waugaman has been with the camp since its genesis and is well connected with Virginia Tech. However, he knows that this move will be a smart one for the camp.
“I’m going to be sad to leave, and we’ve talked to Kelly Wolff (Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech, Inc. general manager) about possibly bringing it back to and possibly revisiting Virginia Tech in some way,” Waugaman said. “But I’m excited that we’re moving in a new direction, and it’s also moving geographically and so that might help some students from Northern Virginia because it’s not quite as far. That was another reason for the move because we want to pull students from different parts of the state.”
For students like Sara Guglielmo, a junior from Langley High School, the move to Lexington, Va. (Washington and Lee’s location) will make the journey south much easier.
“I live a lot closer to Washington and Lee, and the drive to Virginia Tech is five hours,” Guglielmo said. “I also think that the journalism program is more developed (at Washington and Lee) and I think the people will be better.”
A new location will not only be a new experience for the students who attend jCamp, but also for the instructors as well.
Photojournalism instructor Bradley Wilson, like Waugaman, has been an instructor at the camp since it was created. Wilson is excited for the move to Lexington because he wants to attract more students.
“We’ve got to think about from the big picture, how we are going to get attendance up at this conference,” Wilson said. “(jCamp is) a great conference, it’s very well-organized, I think the students get a lot out of it, and it’s really one of the better conferences on the East Coast, but we’ve got to double attendence.”
Wilson believes increasing the attendance goes beyond simply moving the location. Instead, it includes bringing in new speakers, encouraging advisors to attend, and attracting entire staffs to attend.
Next year’s jCamp, scheduled for June 23-27, 2013, will certainly be a different experience for all the students who attend, but overall, will still aim to give the attendees a knowledge-filled and fun adventure.
“We’re gonna go to a university that has a journalism degree program and we will be something on their campus. They want us to be there. We mean something to them,” Wilson said. “They’ll use us to recruit new students. I think the experience for the students and instructors will be different because they want us to be there.”