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Camp Invention returns to SUNY Canton

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POTSDAM — Children are unleashing their inner Edison this week at Camp Invention, a science-themed day camp for children in grades one through six at SUNY Canton.

The week began with the students taking apart everyday devices such as computers to see how they work.

Children participate in activities such as “Launchitude,” designing makeshift catapults to fling a rubber duck as far as they can. In “Cache Dache” they discuss real-world problems from around the globe that can be solved with science.

“Science is magic at the first-grade level,” said camp director Melissa A. Kirby, a teacher at Madrid-Waddington Central School.

Camp Invention is a national organization that provides the camp theme, curriculum and activities to educators.

SUNY Canton is hosting two sessions of the camp this year, with the first in full swing this week. The theme is “Geoquest,” combining geography and science education.

“It’s fun. There’s a lot of different activities you can do,” said Noah G. Bohl, 11, of Potsdam, as he waited to test out his team’s plastic foam catapult.

The activities are designed to get young children engaged in science and critical thinking, learning to apply themselves to realistic problems while having fun.

“This is the first stage in the process, and hopefully they’ll go on to become scientists and inventors,” Ms. Kirby said.

The camp came to Canton for the first time in 2011, when SUNY Canton Associate Professor Ronald J. Tavernier Jr. started looking for a day camp for his own children.

“I wanted something that was educational and not sports-related,’ he said. He worked with other St. Lawrence County educators to bring Camp Invention to the area.

Even though he now teaches biology, Mr. Tavernier said he hated science growing up. He said he hopes this camp shows children there is more to it than just boring classwork.

Ms. Kirby said the children’s ingenuity has impressed her ever since the camp began.

“Some of the things I’ve learned are the amazing things that kids can come up with all on their own,” she said.

This year, about 45 children signed up for each week of the camp. The second week starts Monday, and signups are still being accepted. The cost is $225 per child.

More information can be found online at www.campinvention.org.

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