ONTARIO — About 140 young people from Malheur County and elsewhere got to test their STEM skills during camps held this week and last week on the campus of Treasure Valley Community College, which was a partner in the program.
Youth came from Adrian, Nyssa, Vale, Ontario and Idaho for the camps geared toward science, technology, engineering and math, Oregon State University Extension Agent Barbara Brody said.
“We provided free transportation,” Brody said for those youth living in rural areas.
The theme for the camps was “Are You Ready For Tomorrow?” This was a favorite question of Cash Troyer, a local youth who died last year in a rafting accident. This year’s camps were dedicated to his memory, according to Brody, a leader of the camps along with Nickie Shira, STEM coordinator at the Malheur Education Service District.
The first camp was Aviation Career Experience, in which campers put together drones and learned to fly them. In addition, they were able to look into many aspects of aviation and take a tour of the Boise airport, including
the control tower, Brody said.
This week campers got their choice doing robotics, creating soft circuits and making products as a way of creating a business.
Volunteer Tim Cables taught them basic principles of business
Martin Benites, of Ontario, took part in robotics camp.
He liked the challenge of making the robot, he said, “doing what we needed to make it work.” It took two days to put his robot together, Benites said.
Soft circuits included making paper circuits and creating micro circuits what would allow lights to blink in sequence.
Creating a card that lit up was what Caitlin Griffin said she liked most.
“It has been an incredible week,” Shira said, having watched the youth gain confidence and show leadership as they helped each other on projects.
At the end of camp, Thursday, it was show-and-tell, as parents were invited in the see their children’s accomplishments.