3 Reasons to send your child to a STEM Camp

Stop me if you have heard this before: “Technology is the future.” All of us have, and when it comes to preparing our kids for tomorrow, we all want them to have all the tools needed to succeed. During the school year, kids are so busy they barely get time to relax and just have some fun. Enter summer. We assume summer is a time to let them relax and clear their schedule, but what if there was a way to continue their learning WHILE allowing them to relax and unwind from a busy year? You guessed it, there is. STEM Day Camp. Here are 3 reasons to send your child to a STEM camp this summer:

 

dsc_02281. Develop Social Skills

Regardless of what type of camp your child attends this summer, it really just matters that he or she attends CAMP. Camp is so important in developing trust, responsibility, social skills, teamwork, and respect amongst kids. I know you have heard it before; kids are spending more time in a virtual world rather than out meeting people face to face. Why not send them to a place where the virtual world does not exist? Or rather it does exist, but only through actual real life interactions with their friends. At a STEM camp, campers work together to create something unique and entirely camper driven. There are no presets, no online walk-through to guide them. There is only the real life interaction between peers that helps develop confidence and social skills for life.

 

 

2. Express creativitydsc_0248

At school, kids are confined to the curriculum and rarely allowed the opportunity to be creative and express their interests. The exact opposite is true at camp! At camp, nobody tells a child exactly what they should be doing every second of the day. Rather, the kids tell themselves what they want to be doing. They are provided the opportunity (and trust) to captain their own ship and pursue their own interests. This is such a rarity in today’s world, especially at such a young age. Most people follow the blueprint of school, college, maybe more school, job, career, etc. All along the way, they are constantly following directions and working for somebody else (often times for someone else’s ideas). At camp, the only person kids are truly listening too is themselves. The follow their own dreams, get lost off the beaten path, and complete challenges that they set out themselves. Camp offers kids a unique opportunity to try something new and stop following directions for a change. Who knows, they may even enjoy the freedom.

 

dsc_03553. Learn a college level skill

Yes, you read that correctly. At a STEM camp, not only are kids provided the chance to be creative and socialize, but they are also learning a skill (programming, robotics, graphic design, etc.) that can help them on those college applications! Many of the STEM camps in the area teach college level skills not to mention those skills are taught by college students. When your child is finally ready to head off on their own (*GASP!) he or she will be prepared and will have already been exposed to the material that most other students will not. He or she will immediately feel at ease and comfortable in what can be a very VERY overwhelming environment. At TIC, we have had campers arrive with no prior computer experience, fall in love with programming, and leave only to end up pursuing a career in computer science. These kids came to camp for the fun, creativity, socialization, and freedom, and left with the knowledge and skills required to succeed later in life. Oh, and they also had some fun on the way.

 

Whether you choose TIC or not, we hope you at the very least make the choice to send your kid(s) to camp. There is so much to be gained and I promise you, they will thank you for it down the line. STEM camps offer kids the traditional camp experience (and benefits), while at the same time allowing them learn a useful skill in a great environment. We hope to see you at camp this summer! Happy camping!

Thinking About Projects Year – Round!

Written by former Technology Director Nola E.! If you would like to be a featured blogger, email [email protected]

Living in New Hampshire and watching the snow pile higher and higher has really made me miss the sunny summers at TIC! While shoveling snow for the millionth time, I started thinking about how great it would be to have a robot to do this for me. A quick search online showed me that such a thing does exist and can also clean up leaves in the fall!

This neat little robot reminded me of some of the amazing projects I saw when I entered the robotics room at TIC. While we don’t have to deal with shoveling snow during the summer, there are problems that need innovative solutions, regardless of what season it is! When I searched a little more, I discovered another fascinating robot that does its work during the summer! This robot provides a new and interesting way to make art at the beach by drawing intricate patterns and portraits in the sand.

Seeing a winter themed robot as well as a summer themed robot reminded me of how important it is to be thinking creatively year-round. No matter what tech option you’re in, you’ll be able to express yourself creatively, using the inspiration all around you! So even though camp is several months away, it’s never too early to start brainstorming projects to do with your fellow campers!

Social Benefits of Riding the Bus

These days, kids are spending more and more time interacting on digital devices rather than in person. When they want to have a conversation, it is a quick text away rather than a phone call. Emotions are displayed with emojis, not with smiles. Kids need to be in social settings to develop skills that will help them in college and beyond. Believe it or not, riding a school bus twice a day with the same group of kids can be incredibly beneficial to developing friendships and breaking down social barriers. On a bus, kids are automatically in smaller groups, and have the opportunity to develop real relationships with people they may not otherwise talk to. I had the pleasure of recently attending a keynote speech by Bob Ditter, an adolescent and family therapist from Boston, MA. In his talk, he spoke about the importance of utilizing small groups in order to develop the social relationships of young kids. In his words, when kids interact in small groups, they relax and the social barriers are broken down. They become comfortable quickly, and start to develop connections that last when the group size increases. In other words, kids that develop relationships in small groups are more successful in larger groups where the social dynamic can be trickier to navigate. They are less likely to feel ostracized and left out, even when their interests may not align with the majority of the group.

So how does this relate to summer camp? On the first day of camp, a camper is immediately placed in a group, often times with complete strangers. He of she is then told “these are your new best friends, see you in a couple weeks!” This is extremely overwhelming, but imagine if that same child had ridden the bus to camp that morning, and was sitting next to somebody that was equally as nervous about starting camp. Prior to arriving at camp, both children are connected by a common feeling and situation. Even if those two children don’t say a word to each other all bus ride, all of a sudden a familiar face is added to the sea of strangers upon arrival. Both campers are immediately more relaxed and comfortable in what can be an intimidating environment. Now imagine at the end of a great camp day. Both campers are back on the bus, in their small group environment. They are much more likely to open up, share stories, and make friendships. As an added bonus, these new found friends are part of a small “bus crew” if you will, and are able to form their own social dynamic within the camp environment.

Fair warning, campers may come home singing this:

Jortsssssss

IMG_8346Max and Jason two of TIC DC North’s senior campers have enthusiastically been advertising “Jorts” to the whole camp. These two and their whole film crew have even filmed an advertisement including “Jorts.” Their enthusiasm for these off kilter outfits has been nothing short of infectious. We are looking forward to the full viewing on Friday, at our Open House!

 

Water…Melon Day

Today, August 4th, was Water Day at TIC DC North. The counselors decided to turn up the notch and add a Watermelon Eating Contest! 10 counselors and two directors competed in this summer time classic. The rules: 1. You have to eat the watermelon down to the rind as fast as you can, and 2. You can not use your hands at all. Our winner was…..camper turned counselor Alek Zherka!IMG_8391IMG_8350IMG_8351

A Picture Worth a Million Words.

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Shraya, Chloe, and Lulu share a moment of fun in Ultimate Frisbee. These two sisters, and friend are always having a blast in whatever activity they participate in. Their laughter, love of competition, drive, smarts, and technical skills, make these three excellent leaders in tech and athletics. Keep it up girls!

 

And the Golden Disk goes to……

Last session two of  TIC DC North’s campers and Golden Disk winners, Marshall R. and Jared W., astounded campers, counselors, and directors with their Graphic Design project. This team not only designed a video game cover, but they did the disk design, brought in an actual Xbox game case and created an instructions insert. PLUS the game they designed art work for was created by other campers at TIC that same session, and then they burned the game on the actual game disk. Check out Marshall and Jared’s Golden Disk Project!

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Pokemon Go: TIC Edition

This week at TIC DC North, campers and counselors teamed up to go on the adventure of a lifetime: a Pokemon scavenger hunt! Teams had the challenge of finding Pokemon hidden all around the GDS campus, at which time counselors used their personal phones to “catch ’em.” At the end of the day scores were tallied and two winners were determined based on amount of Pokemon found, and point values of Pokemon. One camper had the inside track and filmed the whole thing. Take a look at this camper filmed Pokemon mini-documentary. Big thank you to Amos Steinglass for filming and creating this project.

 

Namaste

One of DC North’s favorite activities this session has been Yoga! Kelley, our Yoga specialist, has been teaching campers and counselors alike Vinyasa’s and various different flows. All are taking time out of their day for some quiet, peaceful, stretching and exercise and are very excited about it. Check out Yoga when you join us for Session’s 3 and 4!
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