On Friday, July 20, Ranken wrapped up another week of camps as part of the 3rd annual Summer Adventure Academy. Approximately 180 kids attended the 12 different camps offered this week which focused on technical areas such as go-kart assembly and racing, robotics, web design, machining, carpentry and construction, welding and jewelry design and production. Due to the success of the past two years, the College added three new camps for middle-schoolers which included health technologies, water ecosystems and criminal justice. A higher level robotics camp was also offered for high schoolers this week and was taught by Charlie Blair, a teacher from Gateway High School and advisor for the school’s robotics team, Perpetual Chaos.
"These camps continue to be successful because kids look for ways to have fun with technology and want to be challenged to broaden their skills," said Stan Shoun, Ranken’s president. "This is a perfect age to introduce students to the concept that high-tech careers are not only challenging but also fun, and we’re allowing kids to learn in an environment that lets them focus on interesting projects, in small groups."
Campers came from all around the St. Louis Metro Area to attend this week, many from the St. Louis Public School District which offered scholarships for some of their students to attend. Marcus Wiley, an 8th grader from McKinley Middle School was one of the lucky students to have the chance to attend the Summer Racer’s Camp free of charge.
"Our Language Arts teacher told us that if we wanted to try to win one of the scholarships to attend camp we just had to write an essay about why we wanted to come," said Wiley. "I really wanted to do the racer’s camp so I was really excited when I was chosen to go."
To assist in the continued effort to get more young women interested in technical careers, Ranken held two camps intended for females only; Tools for Success and Bling It On; although most of the other camps had at least one female camper, like Katie Brandt who participated in the Wood Works camp. Brandt is a 7th grader from Litchfield Middle School in Litchfield, Mo., and she selected Wood Works for personal reasons.>/p>
"My family does a lot of renovation work around our house," said Brandt. "I picked this camp so I could learn more about different tools and how to use them. Now I can really help my dad out when we are doing projects together and I’ll know exactly what he is talking about when he asks me to get a tool for him."
Camps were held Monday through Friday this week from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and today, a "Family Fun Day" was held to celebrate the final day of camp. All campers, family members and volunteers were treated to lunch in the dining hall and parents had the opportunity to see first-hand what their kids have been working on all week. The day included battling robots, a "crime scene", a jewelry runway show and car racing. The annual go-kart race was held in the Cook parking lot (congrats to the black car team for their first place finish!), and individual timed trials in the wheelie cars were held on the Finney parking lot.
"We believe these camps are truly unique in this area," said Shoun. "We are excited to be able to use our campus, our expert instructors and our extensive technical training space to offer this opportunity to local students. We plan to continue to make the camps bigger and better year after year."
This week six more camps are running for high-school aged students. Camps cover computer technology, gaming, NASCAR racing engineering, machining, air brushing and welding.
Additional photos and videos are available on Ranken’s Facebook and Flickr pages!