Creative juices flow at district's Camp Invention

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By Ron Benningfield

 With a record enrollment of 80 students this year, Camp Invention director Kathy Ross is expecting the creative juices to be flowing among teachers and learners when the campers convene July 9-13 at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.

“Among the greatest things this camp offers is teaching kids to ‘think outside the box,’ to problem solve by coming up with creative ideas,” Ross said. “It also teaches them to work together as a team in solving their challenges.”

First started in 1990, Camp Invention is a weeklong summer day program for children entering grades one through six that engages in discovering their own innate creativity and inventiveness through hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content.

Each day, children rotate through four integrated modules that employ creative thinking to solve real-world challenges. Children learn vital 21st century life skills such as problem solving and teamwork through imaginative play, according to Ross. 

In this summer’s Envision program, campers will experience modules including Inventeureka, Action and Adventure Games, Magnetropolis and I Can Invent: Balloon Burst. They will visit an imaginary island to study magnetism, take a fantasy adventure on the Ci6000 Space Modulator Time Machine and invent a balloon-bursting machine.

 “To burst the balloon, they will create a Rube-Goldberg machine that requires several steps, in a chain reaction,” said Ross.  

Veteran Camp Invention teachers Tina Southwood and Martha Page return to join two first-year camp instructors (although experienced classroom teachers) Kathy Milby and Heather Hynes.  

Jeshua Logson, a LaRue County High School alumnus who recently finished his first year at Savannah College of Arts and Design, will serve as assistant director. Landon Wolford and Haley Best are returning as counselors. 

The district camp office is moving to an intern program with positions known as Leadership Interns who will eventually replace counselors. 

“So this year we have two Leadership Interns, Andrew Coy and Grace Milby, who have completed extensive on-line training,” said Ross. Sandy Berry LaFollette will serve as Camp Parent.

A new twist this year for all camp sites is the position of CIT (counselor in training).

 “This is for Camp Invention alumni who will be seventh or eighth graders and who want to return to CI and possibly become leadership interns when old enough,” Ross said. Harrison Hynes, Skyler Hornback and Celeste Menard have qualified for these positions. 

Ross said earliest registration for the camp cost $190 with costs increasing as time for the camp nears. However, she noted that very few kids must pay the full price.

 “ALES PTO and some private donations have paid for 14 scholarship discounts,” Ross said. “Dow Corning Foundation has assisted approximately 25 families with scholarships.”

Two full scholarships were given in memory of former ALES principal Amber Thurman who died last school year in a car crash.  

“Michele Millikan, Camp Invention Regional Director, paid for one of those scholarships and the other donor wishes to remain anonymous,” she said.

For more information on Camp Invention, contact Camp Director Kathy Ross at 234-3309 or visit Camp Invention’s website at www.campinvention.org.