Camp Invention draws record numbers

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A record 215 students attended the fourth annual Camp Invention at Sauk Trail Elementary on July 10-14.

The previous record 166 students was set last year, said Kristin Pavelec, the Camp Invention director and a teacher at Sauk Trail. The camp also included 14 counselors-in-training, 20 leadership interns, 10 instructors, and two assistant directors.

"It was quite the week,'' Pavelec said.

The camp was open to students going into first through sixth grade. Each day had more than six hours' worth of activities and campers took part in five modules -- Duct Tape Billionaire, Have a Blast, Mission Space Makers, Operation Keep Out and Camp Invention Games -- for at least an hour each day.

In Duct Tape Billionaire, students designed products that they could market and sell. In Have a Blast, children competed in friendly air battles and used physics to boost their advantage. They also built a high-tech Bubble Blaster, complete with flashing lights. In Mission Space Makers, students were on a mission to locate and prepare a  new planet for human habitation. They also set up a space lab to hatch eggs, sprout living plants and grow crystals. In Operation Keep Out, children took apart machines and devices and used the parts and pieces to create spy gadget alarm boxes.

Finally, games had campers participating in a water balloon fight with shields that participants made to protect themselves, tossing water balloons back and forth with tarps, relays, and more.

In addition, participants had a surprise guest on Friday afternoon as R2D2 made an appearance. Pavelec said a parent connected her with someone who built an exact replica of R2D2, complete with sounds, movement, and lights.

"It was awesome,'' she said.

Pavelec has been the director at Camp Invention for all four years and is excited to see its growth and how students have taken to it.

"I've enjoyed every minute of this,'' she said. "It's always amazing to see how the students approach a challenge differently at the end of the week compared to Day One. ... We have had som many exciting things going on this week. These skills will help them throughout the school year and for the rest of their life.''

Camp Invention was created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, a leading non-profit organization of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To learn more, please visit the Camp Invention website.