Skip to main content

Dakota Dreams SDSU Summer Camp

Dakota Dreams Career Exploration Summer Camp, July 9-13, 2023

SDSU is excited to welcome 100 7th and 8th grade students from across the state of South Dakota to join us, along with our partner Lake Area Technical College, for an exciting week on our campus in Brookings.

Dakota Dreams Camp Logo

The Dakota Dreams Career Exploration Summer Camp is a partnership of the South Dakota Board of Regents, South Dakota technical colleges, South Dakota businesses and industry, and the South Dakota Department of Education.

The opportunity is funded with federal dollars available to DOE through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Lake Area Technical College Logo

Camp participants will have the opportunity for hands-on learning in the areas of:

  • Agriculture
  • Nursing
  • Engineering
  • Pharmacy & Allied Health
  • Natural Sciences
  • Aviation
  • Education
  • Economics
  • Surgical Technology
  • Robotics
  • Energy Technology

This unique opportunity will include a day trip to Lake Area Technical College to explore nursing and engineering-related programs, tours of local industries and farms as well as experiencing life on the SDSU Campus.

What's YOUR Dakota Dream?

Apply Now

Dakota Dreamers - What to Bring and What not to Bring

Informational Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Dakota Dreams summer camp program is a three-year grant awarded to the South Dakota Board of
Regents (BOR) from the South Dakota Department of Education (DOE) in February 2022. This grant
provides rising 7th and 8th graders week-long, residential summer camps hosted on university campuses
with day trips to area technical colleges during the summers of 2022, 2023, and 2024. Camps are designed
to help students explore career options and how they relate to educational choices in middle school, high
school, and college.

Students arrive at the camp on Sunday and depart on Thursday. During their time at camp, they will
experience four days on a university campus and one day trip to an area technical college while learning
about career pathways through hands-on activities. Additionally, during their camp experience, they will
take business and industry tours to observe careers in action.

These camps are provided at no cost to campers. All expenses are included, i.e., instruction, lodging in the
university residence halls, dining at university dining facilities, social activities, and transportation
throughout the week. This opportunity is being funded with federal dollars available to South Dakota
Department of Education (DOE) through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Transportation to and from the camp is not provided. Parents, guardians, or designated representatives
will be responsible for the transportation to and from camp.

Parents/guardians submit applications for their students to attend camp at the OurDakotaDreams

In 2023, the application period is between February 15-April 15.

In 2022, the following logic was applied when selecting campers:

  1. Camp preference
  2. High priority school district by need (as determined by school districts labeled Title I and/or Excessive Absenteeism during COVID)
  3. Student grade level in Fall 2022
  4. Date of application

Applicants were first sorted by their #1 camp preference. Then they were sorted by high priority school
districts and grade level. All rising 8th graders in the high priority districts were admitted into the summer
2022 camps. Once those students were accepted, the remaining camp spots were filled with rising 7th
graders from high priority districts. The date of application was used to prioritize these 7th graders. When
there were additional camp spots remaining beyond those in high priority districts, rising 8th graders from
non-priority districts were accepted. Their date of application was used to determine priority.

In 2023, same logic applies when selecting campers, except that if any applicants attended a camp in 2022,
they will be dropped to the bottom of the list.

Notification emails from the Board of Regents grant administrator are sent to students accepted into each
camp shortly after the application is closed. Responses are monitored for cancellations, and when
cancellations are received, individual emails to the next students on the waitlist are sent. Shortly
thereafter, another email is sent to all applicants who are not placed at one of the camps, notifying them
of their waitlist status.

Shortly after the acceptance email, an introductory email from each campus will be sent to parents to provide
an early welcome and other information such as an overview of check-in and check-out times (if available),
information about the opening luncheon/orientation, and what to pack. 

Parents/guardians will receive a DocuSign form via e-mail with an RSVP for the Sunday lunch and additional waiver

During the week prior to camp, a series of parent/guardian e-mails will be sent with final information and important reminders.

SDSU will also provide parents a staff cell phone number in case of issues throughout the week.

During application, parents are required to sign a Release and Waiver of Liability; Assumption of Risk
Agreement; and Indemnity Agreement. They are also asked to provide a media consent if they are
comfortable. After acceptance to the SDSU camp, parents will be asked to sign additional SDSU camp documents including:

  1. Release and Waiver of Liability; Assumption of Risk Agreement; Indemnity Agreement; and Consent to Medical Treatment and Emergency Contact Form
  2. Parent/Guardian Self-Administration of Medication, Release & Waiver Form
  3. Parent/Guardian Consent for Over-the-Counter Medication Form
  4. Media, Photo & Video Release, Waiver, Indemnity & Hold Harmless Form (optional)
  5. Camper Code of Conduct

Room assignments are made based on roommate preferences first and then grade level next. If only one
camper indicates a preferred roommate on the application, they are not assigned to the same room since
both campers must indicate that on the form to be matched.

When selecting career pathway sessions, camps are asked to give preference to high demand professions
in South Dakota, including careers in Teacher Education, Nursing, Health Sciences, Finance/Accounting,
Marketing, Business, Engineering, and anything STEM related. They are also encouraged to highlight
career fields that set their campus apart from others. 

Camper reflection on the career pathway sessions, business tours, and overall experience is a critical
component of camp. The SDSU Dakota Dreams Camp includes various opportunities to foster reflection and learning. Examples include formal reflection opportunities in the evenings during small group time as well as informally during meals/transitions.


Check-in will occur in the residence hall. Check-in should be followed by an orientation lunch for parents/guardians and campers. Additional details will be provided in the camp communications.

The SDSU Dakota Dreams Camp has a code of conduct to outline camper expectations and ensure a safe and fun experience for all campers. The camper and parent/guardian will be asked to sign the code of conduct at the orientation lunch.

We, the undersigned, agree that ________________________ (camper’s name) will obey the rules of
conduct for the SDSU Dakota Dreams Camp

  1. Attend and be on time at all events and activities.
  2. Observe hours set for being in rooms at night.
  3. Avoid abuse of room furnishing. Participants will pay for damages done.
  4. Boys and girls will be housed on separate floors. No boys will be allowed on the girls’ floor or in a girl’s room nor will girls be allowed on the boys’ floor or in a boy’s room as individuals or groups.
  5. Participants will remain in their assigned groups throughout the events and activities of the camp. Youth are not to leave campus or training sites at any time except for scheduled off campus activities with chaperones.
  6. Participants are to wear name tags at all times.
  7. Observe rules of good manners and proper grooming (manner of dress, make-up, hairdo, haircut, cleanliness, etc.)
  8. Participant possession or use of alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, tobacco products, or vape products is prohibited. Violation of this regulation will result in the participant being sent home at their expense.
  9. Any forms of fighting, bullying, and harassment will not be tolerated and will result in the participant being sent home at their own expense.
  10. Be actively engaged in camp activities. Campers will not use their cell phones or other electronic devices during camp activities and presentations.

Conduct not in keeping with the high standards of South Dakota State University will not be tolerated.
Flagrant violation of points listed above will result in the camper being sent home at their own expense.

We understand the reason for this agreement is to ensure conduct and behavior that will result in every participant receiving the full benefit and enjoyment of the education experience at the SDSU Dakota Dreams Camp, and it is not intended to place undue restriction upon them.
Camper Signature: _______________________________________ Date______________
Parent/Guardian Signature: _________________________________ Date______________

Campers will experience various aspects of the South Dakota State University campus life during the Dakota Dreams Camp, including an evening at the Miller Wellness Center and a science show.