Students explore chemical reactions, science of baking at College of Southern Md.
Teens and Kids College offers more than typical camp experience for participants
Now in its 31st year, the Teens and Kids College at the College of Southern Maryland is not your typical summer camp.
Lauren Sutten, lead coordinator for the Teens and Kids College, said approximately 3,000 students have enrolled in the summer camps on the La Plata, Prince Frederick and Leonardtown campuses.
The summer enrichment programs, for children ages 5 to 14, are offered on all three campuses from June 19 to Aug. 11.
The week-long morning and afternoon camps have topics ranging from mad science spy camp to “Star Wars” stop animation,
from chocolate to digital photography.
Some of the topics are the same as in previous years, but others are new.
“We try to change them up every few years so the kids have more of a selection,” Sutten said.
In “Desserts and Pastries,” aspiring chefs and bakers learned how to make tasty confections, learning about dough preparation, baking and mixing.
Christine Jones, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Southern Maryland Christian Academy, is in her second year taking part in the camps. She said her campers were working on dirt cake, rice crispy sushi treats, doughnuts and s’mores inside a pie crust.
She said she hoped the students in her camp would learn to have fun with cooking, and also some scientific principles associated with cooking and baking.
Ava Weybrecht said her favorite part of the camp was, “making new friends and learning new recipes.”
Jay Acevedo, 16, a camp counselor in training, took part in the camps when he was younger, from 2006 to 2010. He fondly remembered taking part in a robotics camp.
“It was fun; we made robots from scratch,” Acevedo said. “I loved doing things with my hands, and the camp gave me the chance to do so.”
Acevedo said he was glad to come back to the program as a CIT.
“I love this camp,” Acevedo said. “I thought I might come here for college, so I thought I might like to come back and help with some camps.”
In “Mixin It Up,” students learned about principles of chemical engineering through a number of hands-on experiments.
Jenee Greenwood, a Charles County Public Schools teacher who leads the chemical engineering camp, said the camp is designed to introduce children to the world of chemical engineering in a fun, engaging way.
“First, I want to let the kids know what a chemical engineer does. Then we start making things,” Greenwood said. “We’re trying to solve problems with science, basically.”
On Wednesday, the campers mixed oil and water and food coloring to make their own lava lamps. Jason Shane, 9, said the best part of the camp was watching how different substances reacted and changed.
Sutten said that while there is an academic component, she hopes students will get more out of the experience.
I hope that the kids learn lifelong lessons and engage in the curriculum, but it’s not just about academics,” Sutten said. “We hope they’ll get that exposure to a college campus that will stay with them. Because they’re exposed to a college campus from a young age, they’ll see college as something that might be in their future.”
Camp counselor Eva Fialkowski, left, looks in as William Drakeford, 10, and Jared Agenor, 9, watch their experiment in the “Mixin It Up” chemical engineering camp at the College of Southern Maryland Wednesday.
Camp counselor Jenee Greenwood discusses the principles of buoyancy during the “Mixin chemical engineering camp Wednesday. It Up”
Olivia Sharrow, 8, mixes a dessert while Olivia Haralson, 8, watches during the “Desserts and Pastries” camp at the College of Southern Maryland Wednesday morning.
Brooke Barnes, 9, spoons ingredients for dirt cake into her cup in “Desserts and Pastries” camp at the College of Southern Maryland Wednesday morning.
Christine Jones assists Vicente Chavarria, 8, in using a hand mixer to make whipped cream during the “Desserts and Pastries” camp at the College of Southern Maryland Wednesday morning.