Maker Camp: Direct From our Campers!

Maker Camp: Direct From our Campers!
Maker Camp director Em Mota show campers around the MAKE broadcast studio.

Maker Camp finished off its summer session a few weeks ago, and we’re still glowing with energy from the incredible community of campers and makers. As with any summer camp (virtual or otherwise), it’s really the people who make it what it is — so we decided to connect with some of our awesome campers directly.

Our campers hail from cities and towns across multiple continents, span the spectrum of ages from teenagers to lifelong learners, and are an enthusiastic and passionate group. A few were involved in our inaugural Maker Camp in 2012 and came back for even more ideas and inspiration, especially as “#makercamp hashtags were flying around” throughout the summer, as one camper put it.  Another camper explained that he joined because often, “kids don’t realize they have the power to make. Maker Camp empowers us to make cool things.” Other campers mentioned that they felt it would be a neat place to meet new people and learn from professionals, and in fact, it’s done just that. A camper declared that it’s “been awesome to collaborate with people across the world with similar interests.”

When asked about their favorite projects, field trips, or memories, campers had a deluge of answers. Many found it fascinating that companies like Hallmark and Pixar, for instance, make more than just greeting cards and films. One camper said, “I didn’t know [they] actually did projects. They build stuff just like us.” Others thought it was really cool to see how Google, NASA, and Oracle make things — not just that they do it, but how they do it too. After all, we all realize that the process is just as important as the product.

And as expected, a lot of our community is knee-deep in making things. Mario the Magician inspired one camper to “make technology magic” and create an app using MIT App Inventor. Others are talking with each other regularly on hangouts to collaborate on a possible kit. Some are digging through their Lego piles, planning a weather balloon project, developing a music visualizer to interface with their RoboBrrd, and perfecting the peanut butter jar vacuum former. As many are gearing back up for classes, one camper said, “I wish Maker Camp could be our school.”

Building on the excitement of the summer and stemming from the resounding number of camper suggestions, we plan to continue our Google+ Maker Camp community year-round.  Our campers don’t want summer camp to end, and neither do we! So please continue to visit the page and keep the Maker Camp spirit going all year long.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Stephanie is the program developer for education at Maker Media. She has worked in STEAM education for years now, previously running The Tech Museum Summer Camps, and spends her time making new digital and tangible connections in the world of ed.

View more articles by Stephanie Chang