ShareThis Page

Science day camp blasts off for first time from Hempfield in July

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 8:34 p.m.

Building rockets to blast off in the air, exploring robots with LEGOs, learning about physics in a fun way — all this and more can be found next month at the first-ever Penn State Extension 4-H Program Robotics Day Camp.

During the three-day camp for youths ages 9-12, participants will concentrate on science and engineering activities. “People think you have to live on a farm to be involved” in 4-H, said Johanna Sheppard, 4-H Extension educator for the Penn State Extension in Westmoreland County. “You don't have to raise bunnies or horses to be involved.”

The camp will introduce engineering concepts with LEGOs Mindstorm NXT and more. Sheppard said children don't always understand why something works but are so quick to grasp how it works, which is exactly what engineers do.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. recently donated $10,000 to Westmoreland County 4-H programs for its Future Lego Leaders Robotics Competition. Some of the money was used to purchase equipment for the competition, equipment which will also be used at the day camp.

Nathan Calvert, policy, government and public affairs representative for the Appalachian/Michigan Strategic Business Unit of Chevron North America Exploration and Production Co., said the company requires thousands of talented professionals such as engineers, geologists, geophysicists and information technology specialists to produce energy for the world every day.

“By supporting the efforts of the Westmoreland County Cooperative Extension, we hope to build capacity for the kind of experienced-based, hands-on learning that encourage students to choose STEM-based careers,” Calvert said. “Programs like summer camps offer great opportunities for students to learn about science and technology in a fun and engaging way.”

Heather Ford of Penn-Trafford School District has two children, Tyler, 11, and Hailey, 9, who will attend the camp this summer.

“I've always felt strongly about 4-H because they offer good things for kids to belong to,” she said. “When this came up, I thought it was great because my son is a science guy.”

Although Tyler's favorite subject is science, his next favorite activity is building things out of LEGOs.

“I like how you can discover new things and make big accomplishments,” said the rising sixth-grader at Penn Middle School, who is currently building a miniature rocket with his father that will go 200 feet in the air.

But the science guy isn't the only one looking forward to camp this summer.

Hailey, who will be a fourth- grader at Harrison Park Elementary, is a 4-H member who wants to be a horse trainer when she grows up. She said she is looking forward to the camp because it will be “totally different.”

“I've always wanted to make a robot,” she said.

Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.