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Camp Invention adjusts to offer lessons at home

| June 25, 2020

Camp Invention has been around for 25 years, said Diane Schlegel, Coshocton City Schools Camp Invention Director and lead coach.

“Twelve years ago, on a whim, I called to see what Camp Invention was about and I was sold the minute I heard about it,” she said. “Initially Camp Invention has been held at the school. It was a whole day of activities. We had camp songs and everything. Oh, the kids just loved it. Due to COVID-19 this is the first year for Camp Invention Connect. Normally the children would show other classmates what they did. With virtual camp, on Fridays they can share with other students on ZOOM.”

Schlegel is excited to see the camp continue in a virtual format.

“Camp Invention got right on it,” she said. “The kids get a box with four packets for each day. The projects are similar to what they have done in the past, the bag and everything is in there. This year they will be getting a box for the activities with everything they need in each bag, a Camp Invention T-shirt and an extension activity guide in a booklet. Just, open the bag, follow the instructions and go to town. It’s amazing what they were able to do. Every day they can get in touch with the teacher/coach on Zoom at noon or 3 p.m. and introduce items in that bag to work on. It will be interesting to see how this all goes.”

This program is for any student and any student can learn from it.

“You can meet with the teacher online, but you don’t have to,” Schlegel said. “Students can follow the instructions on their own. Any student in the county can do this. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been home schooled or go to private school; any student. These projects are 21st century stuff. They teach problem solving skills that students need to survive in the world. It’s pretty cool. I’m really excited that we can offer this. I’m elated that the Coshocton Foundation came up with the funds.”

For several years the Coshocton Foundation has been spearheading the effort locally to expand Camp Invention’s summer STEM program by bringing other local community leaders and funders together to get this innovative and fun program to as many area youth as possible. In addition to the Coshocton Foundation, local donors include the Montgomery Foundation, McWane Ductile, Wiley Companies, and the Coshocton Rotary Club, and the following restricted funds of the Coshocton Foundation: Simpson Family Donor Advised Fund; Ralph D. & Judy P. Wisenburg Fund; Pierce Family Fund; and the William and Sue Brown Donor Advised Fund have all combined to provide financial support totaling $38,400. Camp Invention Connect is a new program, developed in response to COVID-19 that features both offline activities as well as optional online sessions, according to Bob Pell Executive Director of the Coshocton Foundation.

“Trustees are pleased to see the wildly popular summer STEM program be made available in an at-home format,” Pell said. “We are thrilled that even in these challenging times, Camp Invention is available to offer the connect program, which offers both indoor and outdoor challenges that minimize screen time and maximize our young innovators’ creativity. It’s exciting to see that even in an at-home environment, learning is unlimited.”

Camp Invention Connect reaches far beyond what you would come to expect from distance learning, inspiring confidence and creativity through independent, hands-on exploration. With a set of four themed kits providing an abundance of materials, this one-of-a-kind program delivers hours of hands-on, high-energy fun. With each kit, children take on a unique set of challenges that build confidence, perseverance and creative problem-solving skills. Certified educators serve as coaches, facilitating collaboration, encouraging outdoor play and providing step-by-step activity instruction.

The Virtual Camp delivers four hands on challenges right to your door. Flight Lab teaches the principles of flight, imaginations soar as children learn about principles of flight, going outdoors to experiment with paper planes and hand-copters. They also get two robots — one to take apart and investigate, and one to customize as their very own flight simulation robot.

Champions shows how to build your own sports complexes. As they discover the great inventors behind their favorite sports, children apply their own game-changing ingenuity and design thinking. They collect inventor playing cards, design and build the ultimate sports complex, and then head outside to play their new games.

With the Design Thinking project kids will learn how to become a creator, protect their ideas and start their own business. Children learn the value of their creativity as they enjoy open-ended activities that bring their biggest ideas to life. They use the materials in their kit to create sketches, build and test prototypes, design logos and confidently pitch their products while protecting their intellectual property.

Rescue Squad teaches how to protect the earths eco-system. As they uncover ways to protect the Earth’s ecosystems, children will be eager to go outside and take on inspiring activities. Campers explore bioluminescence as they use LEDs to create a glowing flower, and they build parachutes to safely airdrop animals, restoring balance to their habitats.

Everything will be sent directly to your home. When your package arrives, you will have fun opening all of the activity kits. You can join your coach online for daily kick off challenges and meet other campers. If you can’t join live you will still have access to videos that will take you through each activity step by step. Once you have the daily download you can take your activities outside and get your brain and body moving. Your coach will be available midday and afternoon hours giving you a chance to check in, ask questions and share. At the end of the week with Camp Invention Connect you can join your coach and other campers online to share and celebrate your team work at https://www.invent.org/programs/camp-invention, where you can also register your children for camp.

For more information, contact Lead Coach for River View, Tracey Herron at [email protected] or Lead Coach Diane Schlegel for Coshocton at [email protected].

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