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Happy Campers

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Conner Russ, 7, Trevor Neely, 8, and Lilli Hall, 7, from left, stand near the structure made from recycled items.
Conner Russ, 7, Trevor Neely, 8, and Lilli Hall, 7, from left, stand near the structure made from recycled items.

This summer when schools let out, local students will be able to learn how to build robots, invent machinery and sing and dance.

Local schools, Franklin College and youth groups are all offering summer camps, where students get involved in science, art, writing and music.

Schools in Greenwood and Center Grove are hosting Camp Invention, where students bring in a used appliance and build a machine that must complete a task. Elementary-age students can sing and act at a new musical theater camp in Center Grove. Girls can learn a musical instrument at a camp in Indianapolis.


And at Franklin College, professors will teach middle school and high school students creative writing and how to build robots.

Summer camps give students a chance to delve deeply into science projects, art activities or creative writing that they may not have time for during the school year or that their school may not offer, educators said.

“It’s a chance throughout the summer to build those critical thinking skills,” Teresa Gross, Westwood Elementary School teacher said. “It fits our goal to build those critical thinking skills.”

Summer activities, such as Camp Invention, give students the chance to focus on their favorite school subject without time constraints or a grade, Gross said.

Students who attend Camp Invention at Westwood will be able to build a robot designed to catapult a rubber duck. The week-long camp focuses on learning the scientific method and hands-on science experiments, which is sometimes not a focus of school science curriculum, educators said.

“This gives kids with an interest in science the chance to take that further,” she said. “We have a very specific curriculum.”

Summer camps with a specific focus and curriculum allow students to take one interest and cultivate it for a week, Gross said.

Other summer camps local students can attend focus more on the arts.

Center Grove is offering the Center Stage musical theater camp in July.

Middle schools and high schools often offer drama club, choir and musicals, but elementary-aged students have less opportunities in those areas, Amy Johnson, a voice lesson teacher in Center Grove said.

She wanted to start a camp that offered children ages 6 to 12 a chance to perform locally, without going to Indianapolis to a theater camp, Johnson said.

“It could fill a need in the community,” Johnson said. “Art education is important.”

Students can come from anywhere in the state to the camp at Center Grove High School.

Franklin College is also offering programs for high school and middle school-aged writers or scientists.

Professors will teach a LEGO Robotics session and a creative writing session at the college in June.

The college’s enrichment program will allow students to spend nearly a week on subjects that interest them the most, April Wyatt, event management coordinator at Franklin College, said.

“It gives (students) an opportunity to learn and create something they wouldn’t get in a school setting,” she said.

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