Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kids' College Summer Camp Inspires, Educates and Engages

Around the World with Sweets and Treats: (L-R): Vann Crosby,
Gray Griffen, Cameron Cox and Antonio Tarplin
Wouldn’t it be fun to turn a basket of mystery ingredients into a winning dish and compete on “Chopped?”  How about investigating a mock digital crime scene, gathering evidence and bringing someone to trial for computer-related crimes?  Or how would you like to take a close-up look at an actual human brain and spinal cord? 

More than 1,500 kids ranging in age from 7 to 16 had those and many more opportunities at this year’s Kids’ College summer camps at Trident Technical College. Camps were scheduled not only at TTC’s Main Campus, but also at TTC sites and campuses in Mount Pleasant, St. George, Moncks Corner, St. Paul’s Parish and in downtown Charleston.

Model Airplane Class: front row seated (L-R) Oscar Sanchez, Calvin
Paulsen and Jack Wheeler. Back row (L-R) Teacher Larsen Tedder,
Teacher Asst. Allison Schwerin, Caleb Melkus, Gregory Drummond,
Ducky Steward, Caitlyn Tyson, Josh Balogh, Chase Robinson
and Atticus Finch.
This innovative series, now in its 17th year, inspires, educates and engages children by featuring fun and educational offerings in subject areas including 21st century life skills, computer technology, creative arts, culinary and pastry, math and science and online courses. 

"We started the program with computers and robotics," said Michele Shinn, the program director. "Those are still the most popular camps today. We try to incorporate as much STEM learning as possible.”

Many of the camps are led by faculty and staff of the college, like Ken Mihalik, Department Head of Speech, Foreign Language and Theatre, who taught a public speaking camp.

“The kids were a lot of fun and by the end of the week their speaking skills were quite impressive. It was also helpful for me to have their ‘fresh eyes’ on the material we covered, giving me new insights into my college-level classes,” said Mihalik. 

Others are led through community partnerships with organizations like the Preservation Society of Charleston and MUSC College of Health Professions and Department of Neurosciences, and some are even led by recent TTC graduates, who Shinn describes as her “stars”. 

Hannah O, Legal Eagles: Trial by Jury 

 “They are on the cutting edge of technology and the campers find it so easy to relate to them.” said Shinn. 

For the past several years, individuals and organizations have made donations to the Kids’ College Scholarship Fund, helping to offset the cost of the camps for low-income families, so that even more kids can attend the camps.

“This year, we received just over $4,000 in private donations, helping 58 kids attend the camps,” said Shinn. “We hope to continue to grow the scholarship program so that more kids can take advantage of this great learning opportunity.”

For more information about Kids' College Camps, which include Fall and Spring sessions as well, click here.

To make a contribution to the Kids’ College Scholarship Fund, click here.

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