CANTON -- More than 80 children from across New York State are letting their creative sides run wild at SUNY Canton as part of a week-long day camp focused on innovation and hands-on learning.
Camp Invention, a program of Invent Now, is being held in the North Country for the first time. The program, continuing through the end of this week, is for students entering grades one through six.
The kids work in teams and explore, discover and create solutions to given problems. Participants have the chance to present their findings and inventions to family and friends at an Inventors' Showcase at the end of the week.
The participants are from at least 12 local school districts including Canton, Clifton-Fine, Gouverneur, Hermon-DeKalb, Heuvelton, Lisbon, Madrid-Waddington, Norwood-Norfolk, Parishville-Hopkinton, Ogdensburg, Massena, and Potsdam. Students have traveled from as far away as Buffalo to take part in the program.
Before registration opened earlier in the spring, organizers were told to expect around 30 students to sign up since the camp was new to the area, but enrollment skyrocketed and nearly tripled the original estimate.
Camp Invention Director April Barnes, a teacher at Potsdam High School and a cross country coach, is assisted by four teachers, five camp counselors, and several parent volunteers.
"We have a wonderful team of enthusiastic educators who will help teach the children math and science in an innovative and a hands-on way," Barnes said.
Interested parents and students made sure to keep this week open in their busy summer plans. "We decided to return home from our vacation early so our son could attend," said Melanie Sauer of Potsdam. "This is such a high quality and amazing program that we did not want to miss it."
"We knew immediately we would sign our daughter up for the camp," said Robin Rhodes-Crowell of Canton. "Research shows girls generally score lower in math and science as they get older. Naomi loves inventing, science, creating, and exploring and we want to keep it that way. Programs such as Camp Invention are a great way for her to keep her excitement while learning and growing all at the same time."
Five attendees with financial need were awarded scholarships. Two students received scholarships from Open Windows for Girls, a program of the St. Lawrence County American Association of University Women, while the others were sponsored by community members.
In keeping with the "green" theme of the Camp Invention program, the Potsdam Wal-Mart donated 80 reusable water bottles to help keep Camp Invention participants hydrated during the week.