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Camp Invention Connect brings a smile to young faces

| July 30, 2020

Kylee Raber, left, with her glowing flower project, Jamie Ridenbaugh with her sports complex and Mylee Raber with her clay project. (Tara Gracyk)

This year, thanks to COVID-19, the one-week summer STEM program known as Camp Invention was formatted to be an at-home, virtual camp. Participants received a box in the mail complete with projects for each day and detailed instructions. Online video sessions for each activity was made available and opportunities to virtually interact with camp coaches throughout the day.

“Signing up for Camp Invention Connect was not difficult at all. I called the 800 number, gave someone a little bit of information, and thanks to community sponsors, there was no cost. This year, with camp being virtual, the entire cost was covered, and we’re very grateful,” said Leslie Fehrman Ridenbaugh, mother of 10-year-old, Jamie Ridenbaugh.
Jamie Ridenbaugh, who has participated in the in-person Camp Invention for the last two years, said her favorite part of camp has been that she gets “to make friends and do science.”
Not knowing how this virtual camp would go and being uncertain about social interaction did not deter Jamie Ridenbaugh’s excitement for camp. “I really hope they have the little robots that move on black tape,” she said prior to receiving her camp box.
The Ridenbaughs said this special robot was one Jamie got to color and decorate and that rocked back and forth when it was on anything black.
While Jamie Ridenbaugh may not have gotten to make new friends at camp this year, she did get to learn and create with her friends, Kylee and Mylee Raber, who also participated in Camp Invention Connect. This was the first year the Rabers participated in the summer STEM program, and both girls were looking forward to their camp packages arriving too.
“I really like doing science and stuff like that,” 11-year-old Kylee Raber said.
Her sister Mylee, who is 8 years old, said, “I like to do experiments and learn about technology.”
Before camp began, both families were planning to do the virtual meetings with the instructors, but as Leslie Fehrman Ridenbaugh explained, due to time issues, it worked out best for both families to watch the prerecorded sessions rather than join the live instruction. Whether it was live, prerecorded or from the instructions that came with the projects, these three friends thoroughly enjoyed their camp experiences.
Mylee Raber said her favorite project from camp was the clay project where she got to make her own custom controller. Her older sister said she did not like that project, but she really enjoyed the “flower that lights up.”
Jamie Ridenbaugh also liked the flower project but said her favorite project this year was building a soccer stadium. All three girls said they would love to participate in camp again next year. Leslie Fehrman Ridenbaugh said this will be Kylee Raber’s first and only year due to the grade she will be in next year, but the other two girls will be able to participate next summer. Leslie also said the girls have older brothers who would have loved to do it but are both too old.
The summer STEM program is open to all area children kindergarten through grade six, regardless of if they go to public school, private school or are home-schooled. As these friends can attest, this camp offers students an opportunity to learn, be creative and innovative, and explore and problem-solve.
For information on next year’s camp, email lead coach Tracey Herron for River View at [email protected] or lead coach Diane Schlegel for Coshocton at [email protected].

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Category: Education

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