| Cybercamps/Giant Campus began with a man and an idea. His name is Pete Findley and his idea was to create an interesting mix of summer camps and technology, hence the name "Cybercamps". Pete graduated from the University of Washington's entrepreneurship program and began his first camp in 1997 at the University of Washington (UofW) with only 30 children enrolled. I had a chance to sit down and talk with him at the UofW Bothell Campus, and he told me that Cybercamps is all about learning while having fun! He also told me as a counselor I need to understand that I can show these kids more than just how to create a web site or a game. He said by being a good example to these young adults I could teach them life skills and really make an impact in their lives.
Cybercamps has grown to an amazing 45 locations in the U.S., and has expanded its courses with specialized instructors in Canada, France, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, and Korea. Cybercamps has made these camps extra special by not only teaching technological skills, but also expanding on their knowledge of the English language as well. Pete had this to say about Cybercamps in China, "This partnership has brought Giant Campus significant international awareness. We have received inquiries and are in the process of working with multiple organizations in other countries interested in initiating similar programs, including Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and India".
Each course at Cybercamps uses industry leading applications, and all courses are created using Macromedia¡¦s Flash Application. This makes the courseware both interactive and fun. A list of applications used in each course is as follows:
>Web Design: Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft Frontpage, Flash, and Adobe Photoshop.
>Programming: Visual Basics and C++
>3-D Animation: Hash Animation Master
>Game Design: 3D Game Maker, Dark Basic, and Multi Media Fusion
>Cyber Explorer: For young children and teaches them how to surf the web, make a website and create a PowerPoint presentation
>Robotics: Predefined Programming Language
>Digital Arts: Photoshop, Sound Forge XP, and Acid 2.0
In addition, a multimedia course is in the process of being introduced. The first multimedia program took place at Stanford University where students used Apple IMac, G4 computers, video cameras and copies of Final Cut Pro to create high impact multimedia. Adobe, Macromedia, Microsoft, and Terran Interactive, all provided software for the camp. An interesting side note, only 8% of the children attending camp were girls. Cybercamps knew this had to change and thus began an all-girls camp known as “TechKnow Girls”. For more information on this, visit the links on the bottom of the article.
Cybercamps provides many opportunities to make a difference in your community. One way is to get involved with the Cybercamp CAP program. This program was developed by Industry Canada which helps rural communities obtain affordable access to the Internet through training and orientation sessions. The program is targeted at rural communities, which don't have as many advantages in being able to access the Internet or training. CAP uses themes such as environmental awareness and web design, in creating a web site that is both positive and educational. CAP also does really cool community service activities such as, going to senior citizen homes to teach them to use the Internet, teach individuals how to use specialized software, participate in community events, and learn how to field questions about government information. CAP is a wonderful program with plenty of opportunity to become involved in.
Cybercamps makes sure all the counselors are very well trained so you can be rest assured that you will have professional help. Each camper will have their own computer and a low camper to staff ratio is always kept to insure that each camper can get an equal amount of help. Cybercamps is the only computer camp accredited by the American Camping Association, which set’s industry standards for camp operations. Cybercamps exceeds more than 300 requirements for health, safety, and program quality requirements. In addition, all counselors must pass a First Aid and CPR class.
The cost of attending Cybercamps is from $600 to $1000 a week, depending on whether the child is attending day camp or an overnight camp. The Cybercamp Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports low-income children who would like to attend the computer camps. Apple Computers also provides full scholarships for qualifying participants.
If you are interested in having a Cybercamp in your area, here is Cybercamps contact information:
720 Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98101
A few of my favorite links, articles and more detailed information about Giant Campus/Cybercamps:
http://cap.ic.gc.ca/english/7501.shtml Canadian Youth Initiative Site http://www.giantcampus.com/cybercamps/index.asp Cybercamps Site
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