Robotics and Rocketry
How neat is this? A summer camp where campers can learn how to build a robot – or blast a rocket they built into the atmosphere!
At Summerland Camps that’s exactly what we do! Not only do we have these activities, we take them very seriously. We divide up in teams (we call them “tribes”) and have competitions.
For robotics, we divide up in teams and create machines that are tasked to perform a variety of functions. We have to work together. Each person is in charge of one aspect of the machine- so it’s only going to work as well as the team communicates.
Our robotic contraptions are a metaphor for how the group functions together. Did our contraption work? No? Well, let’s examine the team’s communiction process. Where did things break down?
It worked great? Yes! What went right? How can we apply these new skills to our lives back home? What can we transfer back to our school setting that worked so well here?
If you can dream it, your team can build it! We design and create our own contraptions to solve challenges like toppling model buildings, moving materials, battling other robots and more!
Campers design, build, and fly their own model rockets! Campers are free to take home the rockets they have flown at camp to show to their friends!
Simply put, model rocketry is a blast! We set up challenges for the tribes to compete. Design, engineering skills, math skills, physics, and so much more comes into play here. But perhaps communication between team members- acting as a cohesive family- is what will win the rocketry competition.
Rocketry is another metaphor for achievement at camp. Our group rockets go as high as our design team can make them. We set up this challenge so each group member holds a special key to the design- and only when everyone is cooperating and working together does the rocket reach it’s highest possible altitude.
What things go wrong, well, that’s just grist for the mill- stuff we can talk about in group and figure out where our thoughts or actions went wrong. That’s okay, we’ll get it to fly higher next time!
The Value of Teamwork
There is more to this than just having fun. Sure, building a robot for battle or blasting a rocket off into outer space is all kind of fun. But there is more to it that than.
We create teams so that our campers start interacting. It’s out of human interaction that people grow, learn, and change. Our teams must work as a group to out-smart, out-perform, and out-team the competition.
But it’s not enough to just create the robot that completes the obstacle course. Or create the rocket the launches the highest. We also score teams on their ability to work together. It’s this sense of citizenship this we hold as our core value at Summerland Camps.
This is where the growth and change happens. Our counselors intervene and guide the group through their tasks. If a group member doesn’t want to participate, the get called out by other group members.
Not a Troubled Teen Camp
There is therapeutic value in everything we do. Every fun activity is a learning opportunity in disguise. We help by re-directing in the moment, helping our campers learn more productive ways to interact, communicate, and be part of a group.
In this respect, we’re not a troubled teen camp. We’re a learning camp, a teamwork camp, and a “reinvent your life camp.” We take a positive approach and have a fun summer filled with awesome activities.