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:

Color War: Blindfolded Dodgeball

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Yesterday, to continue with Color War challenges, we had the return of an old time favorite at TIC DC-West: Blindfolded Dodgeball! With skill and alacrity, the two teams battled, leading to a 2-1 victory for the White Team. However, winning a battle does not mean winning the war. WHO WILL WIN THE TITLE THIS SESSION?

The DC-West OlympTICs

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The TIC DC-West Olymptics began yesterday with the qualifying rounds for the countries of Japan, Canada, USA, Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, Jamaica, Italy, and Switzerland. These events included pool noodle javelin throwing, gym mat bobsled racing, and paper plate skating. Luckily, all of the countries qualified for the Olymptics.

This morning marked the official beginning of the Olymptics with the opening ceremony, which included the passing of the torch among the captains of the countries. This was quickly followed with a shoe flick between Australia and Ireland, which ended up being a last minute Irish victory. Thereafter, Team USA dominated the pantyhose tennis ball knockdown event, illustrating that this would be a tight competition throughout the day. Later on in the day, the events included a cheeto whipped cream toss, chocolate unicorn, and human sized pool.

Eventually, the results were tallied, leading to a medal ceremony at the end of the day with the bronze going to Jamaica, the silver going to Ireland, and the gold going to Great Britain. All of the campers and counselors celebrated the end of the OlypTICs with a dance party that continued out to carpool. Have a great weekend, campers!

Green Versus White: Musical Chairs Edition

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To mark the beginning of Color Wars, the Green and White Teams attempted to name as many love and break-up songs as possible. Today, however, these two fierce competitors attempted to sort out their differences… by playing musical chairs! After an intense battle accompanied by songs like “Run the World (Girls),” “Eye of the Tiger,” and many other classics, the showdown came down to Zach from the White Team and Malik from the Green Team. Malik was eventually crowned the victor, giving the Green Team ten points! Who will win Color Wars this session? Keep checking in for Color War updates!

3…2…1…TRON!

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Today marks the beginning of the Tron Tournament at TIC DC-West. The juniors and seniors are first competing within small groups and the top two from each group will move on. On Friday, the finals will be live in front of the entire camp as we breathlessly await the crowning of our Tron champions. Who will be the Tron Masters of session three? Only time will tell…

UPDATE: The Battle of Champions

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After three days of intense battling, TIC DC-West is proud to announce the names of our victors of The Junior Foursquare Tournament. Our Champion is Matt Del Guercio and our Runner-Up is Mario Paslar! Congratulations to all of our competitors!

The Battle of Champions: The Junior Foursquare Tourney

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Action! Victories! Amazing feats of prowess! These words describe the intense three day Foursquare Tournament that is happening at TIC DC-West with our junior campers. Points are collected over a series of three days and totaled. If they advance from one court, they go to a higher, even more competitive court. Tomorrow will mark the third day of these intense face-offs so we can recognize the efforts of all of the foursquare playing champions. Be sure to check out our TIC Pics over the next few days to see more of the event!