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Below The Surface

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ECHO Goes to the Camp Fair

I attended Kids VT's annual camp fair at the Hilton last weekend and had a great time talking to families about ECHO's new summer camps.  Across the board, families were really excited that ECHO is hosting day camps this summer and expressed how much they love ECHO.  A few parents shared that they had purposefully sought out our table after seeing us on the list of camp fair attendees.  I stayed engaged the entire time chatting with kids and parents.  I also learned that next year I should bring more registrations forms, because I ran out an hour into the event!

In addition to our snazzy new camp brochures, I brought some hands-on items for kids to explore, including moose antlers, a snake skin, a turtle shell, and an owl pellet.  Guiding kids as they interacted with these objects reminded me how much I love science education.  Kids' imaginations were particularly sparked by the spine on the underside of the turtle's shell.  I would have them feel their own spines with one hand while stroking the turtle shell's with the other.  There is this amazing smile that children develop when they make a truly exciting connection that I wish I could share via photograph.  It is one of the most heart-warming experiences as an educator.

Champ's mini-me blow-up doll.
Mid-day, Champ stopped by my table wearing his full Lake Monster's uniform.  He spent some time inspecting his mini-me, a Champ blow-up doll that I had brought, and then nodded his approval.  Perusing our 2012 camp offerings, he seemed particularly interested in our "Aquatic Discovery Camp" (running 8/6 - 8/10).  It could be that Champ is into robotics and wants to take part in building an underwater R.O.V. (remotely operated vehicle) with the rest of the campers.  However, I suspect he views the camp's scheduled outing on the UVM Melosira Research Vessel as a chance for a free lunch!  Either way, I believe Champ is well beyond the camp's 4th - 5th grade age range.

In addition to "Aquatic Discovery Camp," we have five other unique camps this year that I presented that the camp fair.  I am particularly excited about the "Explore the Shore Camp" for children entering 6th - 8th grade.  We have some really amazing citizen science field projects set-up, and I met a lot of really bright middel school students at the fair, who I hope enroll.  I even sent one precocious rising 6th grader home with my dissected owl pellet at the end of the day.

To find out more about this year's camps, visit www.echovermont.org/camps.

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