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Camp Invention pilots program locally

4/1/2010 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Camp Invention programs take place at several local sites and help students learn while playing.
Children participating in Camp Invention work together to solve problems in a fun environment.
Photos courtesy of Camp Invention
FAIRLAWN — Camp Invention takes place all around the country. But at Fort Island Primary School, camp participants will be part of a unique experience.

The camp there will be the site of one of eight pilot programs taking place throughout the United States, according to Alaina Rutledge, core curriculum and program extensions manager for Camp Invention.

“It’s an exclusive program,” Rutledge said of the Spark program that will be presented at the school June 21-25. “The students will get to see the curriculum before it’s released nationally. It’s got brand-new activities that no one has ever seen.”

Fort Island has hosted Camp Invention for seven years, according to Lori Byrne, senior regional program manager. The site served as a pilot site last year as well, she added.

Rutledge said Camp Invention officials seek out sites from different geographic regions and that have diversity in participants when looking for pilot participants.

The pilot program is called Camp Spark and features five components:

• Cracking the Codes: The Curious Cypher Club™, in which campers must solve riddles to solve a problem;

• I Can Invent: Edison’s Workshop™, in which campers will address a challenge through their own inventions;

• NanoChasers™, in which different kinds of storms are examined to find the small discoveries that can change the world;

• WiLD! Wondrous Innovations and Living Designs™, in which children explore the world’s most inventive animals; and

• Bounce, which allows children to go outside and expend some energy.

Camp Invention follows up after camps to see what parents and children enjoyed most about their week of day camp. Those results are used to shape the curriculum, Byrne said.

She added that last year, overall camp surveys showed that 96 percent of parents positively rated the Camp Invention experience for their children.

Camp Invention is part of Invent Now, a nonprofit organization that promotes creativity and advances the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. According to Byrne, Camp Invention is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

All Camp Invention sites are staffed by certified teachers. Rutledge said many teachers want to work with the camp because it helps them learn new ways to introduce concepts to their students once school starts again in the fall.

Fort Island’s Camp Invention program is open to students from anywhere and takes place at the school, 496 Trunko Road. The Spark program also is being piloted locally at McDowell Elementary School in Hudson July 12-16 and Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls July 19-23.

Other sites that will host the Camp Invention program are Our Lady of the Elms in West Akron June 14-18, St. Hilary School in Fairlawn June 21-25, Rushwood Elementary School in Sagamore Hills June 14-18 and Nolley Elementary School in Manchester July 5-9.

Fees for Camp Invention vary by location, Byrne said. Those who register with a friend will receive a $25 discount. To register or for more information, call 800-968-4332 or visit www.campinvention.org.

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