Every year, Arizona GEAR UP hosts a Summer Program for rising 10th graders, where students spend a week learning about themselves and exploring the STEM field.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s camp looked a little different. This year’s camp was open to all grades. Students signed up for this year’s Free Virtual Leadership Academy & Technology Camp online, which featured a choice of four one-week classes that focused on robotics and programming. Before the program started, students were sent care packages that featured everything they needed for the week, and each participant received a completely customizable robot.
From June 7-11, students logged in to their Zoom accounts and attended the daily opening sessions hosted by Seeds Training. In these sessions, students discussed thought-provoking topics such as confidence and relationship building. Students worked in team competitions to build comradery and learn more about one another. In these team environments, students shared their passions and explained why they joined the program.
After the opening sessions and a lunch break, students broke out into their selected courses ran by TechDuo:
- Game Design I: Platform game
- Game Design II: Scrolling background game
- Commercial Art and Animation: Audience and community problem solving
- Robotics: Build and code a robot
Students began working on their projects in their classes. While the classes were different, the projects still had the same goal in mind—create a project that includes characters, a plot, a setting, and a lesson such as overcoming fears.
Students worked individually on their projects during the classes, but students were quick to help one another when they asked a question.
In the first few days of the program, very few students turned their cameras on, but as the week progressed and students started to get comfortable with each other, more and more participants turned on their cameras, and it was great to see excited and engaged students.
On the program’s final day, students were asked to share their projects and tell a bit of why they chose certain characters and themes. Seeds led one last closing session at the end of presentations, and students said their goodbyes and shared encouraging messages with their newly found friends.
Testimonies from students who attended the Virtual Summer Camp:
“I’m so sad that I won’t be doing this when Monday comes, I’m gonna miss everyone.”
“Will this program be here again next year?”
“It was so fun being here I’m going to miss it.”
“Thank you all very much for everything, thanks for the robot!!!”
“Thank you everyone for this wonderful experience! Have an awesome summer!!”
“Good-bye, have a great summer. I will miss all of you.”
“Goodbye… have a great Summer! Thank you guys for this amazing opportunity!”
“Appreciated how organized it was.”
“Bye, thank you. This was a great experience. Have a wonderful summer.”
“Bye guys. Have an amazing summer, and I wish you the best in life. I had lots of fun, thank you.”