Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
For the first time in more than a decade, more than 100 kindergarten through eighth-grade Unified School District 207 students gathered for summer camp July 20-22 at MacArthur Elementary School.
USD 207 partnered with Greenbush Educational Service Center to put on a STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math) Camp that included working with robotics, learning to use different programming systems, trips to the Dome Theater at Bradley Elementary School and more.
The district’s five-year Department of Defense Education Activity grant funded the program.
“We just felt the opportunity to extend and enrich education for our students is important, especially coming off a year like last schoolyear,” said SuAnn Grant, USD 207 deputy superintendent. “(The camp) is all hands-on and gives students that chance to explore in that innovative way that’s perfect for a summer, relaxed setting.
“There’s always the challenge of the mobility piece (with families moving). Because of that, we had no idea what the response would be, and we are pleased that so many families reached out and wanted to send their kids (to the camp),” she said. “Learning is fun, and if (students) can take their inquisitive minds forward at the start of this schoolyear, it’d be great for them.”
The camp split participants up according to age group and were co-taught by USD 207 staff and Greenbush personnel.
“Greenbush has provided the camp at other locations, so they provided the structure for the camp,” Grant said.
Vianca Turner, 13, said she enjoyed the camp.
“I’ve made new friends, and people that I didn’t interact with at my school at first, I interact with them more now,” Turner said. “I’ve learned a lot more than what I knew before. At first, I didn’t know about programming and robots. Now, I get more of the gist of it and (the camp) gives you a lot of information.”
Turner said her favorite activity was taking apart a keyboard to see the inner workings of the instrument.
“We got to unscrew it and take out all the little pieces,” she said. “We just had to make sure it worked after.”
Jacob Dunn, 12, said the activities were not what comes to mind when he thinks about summer camp.
“I think outdoors in a cabin and just being with a bunch of other people, but here indoors working with robotics and building things, that’s not what I really had in mind,” he said, “but I am enjoying it.”
Cameron Turner, 12, said he enjoys the science, robots and coding piece of it.
“(Science) comes a little more naturally to me,” Turner said. “I like facts more than fiction.”
Ethan Poggio, 7, said the camp reminded him of TEAMS Lab in school.
“It’s just more advanced and cooler,” Poggio said. “I’m having the best time at camp.
Basically, I like to learn and right now, this (camp) is really what I want to do.”