This article originally appeared in The Virginia Gazette
WILLIAMSBURG – Game design, web design, and robotics are among the many challenging projects campers ages 7-17 are tackling at a summer school they actually want to attend.
iD Tech Camp programs held at College of William and Mary feature a variety of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes, including Photoshop, iPhone app design and more.
Each class lasts one week and many campers enroll for several sessions. They also have the option to stay overnight and attend weekend programs. Camps are held all summer.
Camp attendance averages 60 kids a week, according to camp director Elaine Scott. Instructors come from across the country and most live on the William and Mary campus all summer.
"Everybody is accepted here," said Walker, 12, while in the midst of making his own custom texture pack for the game Minecraft. He said he wants to return next year, as he's made lots of friends and wants to prepare for his future. "I want to work for a gaming company," he said. "I'll probably major in computer engineering and 3D modeling, paired with special interest classes."
Like Walker, many of the campers are equally motivated.
"It's great to see children who really want to be something," Scott said. "To hear a kid under ten years old talk about his aspirations for when he is 30 is absolutely phenomenal."
Victoria, 12, wants to be a veterinarian. "Technology is not my thing," she admitted. "But if I'm going to be a vet I need to know how to do math and science, so I thought this would be a good camp for that." She encourages peers who think they don't like STEM subjects to try camp anyway, confident they'll also find it "really awesome."
Scott, in her fifth year as director, said she never tires of working with the energetic kids all day.
"Unless you're a real mean person," she said. "It's difficult to carry your own issues when you're around happy children."
Map, who has attended iD Tech camps for seven consecutive years, usually stays for a month. He is currently in a game design class, though his all-time favorite was photoshop and web design. The rising twelfth grader has started looking at colleges. "I want to go into business or marketing," he said. "If that doesn't work I'll do microbiology and medicine." He said camp has helped him prepare for any career path by giving him a general appreciation and understanding of computers and technology, qualities he believes everyone should possess.'