Campus Life

Sea Camp 2019: Record Numbers, Continued Success


In 1986, the inaugural Sea Camp had approximately 200 young students in attendance. Since then, Sea Camp has been a mainstay of summers at Texas A&M University at Galveston. While the event has grown exponentially in the proceeding decades, the original mission of Sea Camp remains unchanged and is largely responsible for its continued success.

“We are very creative in making science enjoyable,” said Dr. Daisy Dailey, Director of Educational Outreach at TAMU-Galveston. “We spark curiosity and interests. We promote independence in a safe environment.”

It is that adherence to the core principles that brought Sea Camp into being in the first place that has seen numbers swell to over 1,600 campers and 100 K-12 volunteer educators, coming from all over the United States and even other countries.

At first glance, Sea Camp might be mistaken for the typical American summer camp. But this is a camp with a load of specialized programs, from marine biology to marine engineering, where young students learn through hands-on experiences in a university setting.

“We want to provide opportunities that will become experiences of growth and help broaden perspectives,” said Dailey. “These are things we really need to make sure we stay focused on as we continue to grow along with the Galveston campus.”

Dailey credits much of the success of the camp to the framework put in place by her predecessors, Dr. Ray and Dr. Wern, as well as the adherence to fundamental ideas about youth, education, fun, and safety. But the majority of the success is down to the experience of the campers, and it’s what keeps them coming back.

“Camp experiences help build unique interests,” Dailey said. “They also assist with relationship building skills and independence. Kids feel like they can be themselves at camp – away from the pressures of school. They try new things, develop self-confidence, self-discipline, and learn new ways to socialize. I think all of this helps build an all-around resilience.”

Sea Camp 2019 was no exception, with record numbers of campers highlighting the draw of unique experiences. Dailey is delighted that the students continue to learn and grow and enjoy themselves, that there were no safety incidents, and that this summer’s camp added a new program: Ocean Conservation Camp, which was extremely popular as awareness of the declining health of our oceans continues to grow. “Kids are genuinely concerned about doing their part to help save our oceans,” Dailey said.

For Dailey, personal success is inseparable from the success of Sea Camp. With the steady growth in camp numbers while maintaining the camp’s principles it’s easy to imagine Sea Camp continuing and succeeding in its mission to educate, excite, and embolden young students.

“There is no substitute for passion,” Dailey said.