COVID-19 Won’t Shut Down this Summer Camp

Some of my kids’ favorite summer memories are from camp. They love the variety of experiences, meeting new friends from other places, being led by a counselor who’s close in age (much more fun than having Mom tell them what to do!).

Of course, this summer, most in-person camps have been closed to protect people. But that doesn’t mean that camp can’t continue, and that your children can’t still have a blast learning new things and meeting new people.

Connected Camps have ALWAYS been virtual; not only are we leading online camps this summer – that’s all that we’ve ever done. COVID-19 won’t shut down our camps, because being all-online means your kids will have great new experiences in the safety and comfort of your home.

Not only are our programs online, they’re live! Kids will have a blast interacting with other kids and our experienced instructors. Many of our programs are taught with Minecraft, using a custom server. Others center on Roblox or popular esports programs. Participants interact with each other as they play and learn, using text chat plus Zoom video chat and other free platforms. While they’re online, kids share their work with others in real-time, and collaborate on projects designed to fuel their imagination and build skills.

By building connections with others, kids won’t be “social distancing,” they’ll be practicing “distant socialization,” which is both safe and fun! Mimi Ito, one of Connected Camps co-founders, recently contributed to an important research report on Youth Connections for Wellbeing. In this work, a team of respected researchers in the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, found that social media and digital games actually foster social connection and engagement in ways that can build wellbeing among young people. Plus, Connected Camps programs are all facilitated by hands-on counselors who foster a fun and positive environment.

It’s surprising how many different experiences kids can have at home on the computer! Here are a few options that will let kids both try new things and hone skills in their favorite areas:

Arts: Dive into the world of theater and team up with other drama enthusiasts to create a uniquely scripted Minecraft play in a week-long Theater Camp. This is a repeatable camp that has a different script and story every time. Each camp provides a different practice and experience in drama as the script, story, and group changes.

Through this camp, kids will:

⁠— Discover the fundamentals of playwriting and how to produce a narrative-driven Minecraft drama.

⁠— Collaborate with other students to create a storyboard and split job responsibilities.

⁠— Learn how to audition and rehearse for different roles.

⁠— Create a final presentation and coordinate cues, stage positions, and special effects with your team.

History: Have you ever heard of the phrase “When in Rome, do as Romans do,” and wondered… what do Romans actually do? In this Roman History Camp, kids learn exactly that by revisiting the history of the Roman empire in Minecraft! They’ll build and roleplay different aspects of Rome’s history by exploring a replica of ancient Rome in Minecraft.

Over the course of the week, campers will:

— Experience and explore the magnificent city of ancient Rome in a historical context.

— Learn about the day-to-day lives of Romans including their stories, technologies, religions, and government.

— Discover the beginning and the fall of the Roman Empire alongside the story of its emperors like Julius Caesar.

— Collaborate with others to build monuments and participate in reenactments of historical life and culture.

Game Design and Coding: Kids can both unleash their creativity and learn how computers make things work in these camps. In our Game Design camp in Roblox, youth will:

⁠— Create a game vision document during pre-production to sketch out a project.

⁠— Use a lightweight programming language called Lua to create leaderboards, tools, shops, and item upgrades.

⁠— Manipulate 3D parts in Roblox Studio to construct a world and the objects within it.

⁠— Learn how to code game object interactions and gameplay.

Esports: The world of competitive video gaming features all the fun of team sports, including competition, rivalries, and skills improvement. In these camps, kids will learn to play like a professional esports athlete and be a part of a coordinated team! Camps are offered for Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, and Smash Ultimate.

We teach kids how to think and play like the professional players on the big screen as they practice and perform moves under the guidance of our esports coaches. Over the course of these programs, kids will:

— Practice soft skills like good communication, reinforced work ethic, interpersonal techniques, and problem-solving tactics to apply during play.

— Hone different mechanical skills and master them through practice.

— Learn how to incorporate different strategies in both offensive and defensive play and when to use them cohesively with others.

— Explore what to expect in the world of esports and how it works.

For kids, summer is about fun. COVID-19 may be changing HOW we interact with others, but it shouldn’t shut down everything. At Connected Camps, your kids will be in a safe, monitored setting, guided by well-trained, fun counselors, and exploring new ideas or honing desired skills.

Even after the world returns to “normal,” your kids will still be intrigued by online worlds and want to create and learn using technology. We’ll be here for them then, too, helping them leverage the latest tools for fun and exploration.