A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) summer program for youth that is already in 1,600-1,700 communities across the country is coming to Nevada this summer.


Thanks to the planning efforts of two Nevada educators, Camp Invention — a program that promotes turning curious students into innovative thinkers — will be offered in Nevada the week of June 24-28.


“This is a first-come, first-served program,” explained high school science instructor Ryan Brown, who, along with Nevada Schools Associate Superintendent Justin Gross, has worked on bringing the program to Nevada. Word has been getting out about this program, and half the available spots in the program are already filled, so don’t delay if you want your child to be involved.


Nevada Schools will serve as host to Camp Invention, which will be offered inside the high school building.


“I’ve been fortunate to have my kids in it four years at Gilbert,” said Brown, who said he’s volunteered at the camp there and his wife, Ashley, has been an instructor at Gilbert.


“What intrigues me… and why I continue to be part (of the program) is it’s a unique opportunity for kids to genuinely and authentically solve unique problems in their own way,” Brown said.


This year’s Camp Invention, which is offered through the National Inventors Hall of Fame, is featuring four learning modules: Innovation Force, Deep Sea Mystery, Farm Tech and DIY Orbot. More information about the modules and the program itself can be found at: https://www.invent.org/programs/camp-invention.


Brown said a great thing about the Nevada program is the way that local businesses and groups have stepped up to help support bringing it here.


“There has been, and continues to be, generous public donations for this program,” Brown said. Burke Corp has contributed $5,000, and other entities like the NEDC and Alliant Energy have contributed $500 each.


With these financial contributions, stipends will be set up to bring the cost down for this first few years of the program. The normal fees are between $200 and $230 per child, but Nevada kids in this first year will pay $130.


This year the program in Nevada will be limited to 62 participants, but eventually, as the program grows, Nevada hopes to serve up to 120 kids per summer. “Our long-term vision or goal is to serve 120 kids, and to generate and promote interest in the program,” Brown said. He and Gross hope the program eventually, by the fourth year, can be self-supporting through full tuition payment for each student who takes part and offer five total modules during the week. “We will continue to recruit financial support to help with years one, two and three.”


Camp Invention is open to any child who is going to enter kindergarten next year, up through kids who will enter sixth grade this coming year. “If you are in sixth grade right now,” Brown said, “you are too old” to attend.


Along with offering financial support to those who attend this summer, Brown said Nevada Schools is fortunate to have an agreement with the Food For Thought program, so all Camp Invention attendees can eat lunch for free.


Also important in getting this program off the ground was to find great instructors, and Nevada Schools has four math and science teachers who have agreed to lead the four modules that will be offered. Those teachers are Maggie Davis, James Mills, Kate Wieczorek and Brett Hoffman. These instructors now need helpers, and both high school students and community adult volunteers are needed to jump in and assist in the learning environment.


Brown can attest first-hand on how great it is to volunteer. “As a volunteer (at Gilbert), seeing what other kids are able to do when there’s no wrong answer, and then the pride that the kids have with their outcomes,” he said, makes it rewarding.


Brown loves that each child in the program gets an “inventor’s log,” and each day they are given a challenge or task to accomplish. “It’s called ‘design thinking,’” he said.


If you are able to serve as an adult volunteer helper for this program, please contact Brown at rbrown@nevadacubs.org or go to this link: https://agreements.campinvention.org/.


If you are a high school student who would like to volunteer and earn recognition as an intern, go to: https://www.invent.org/programs/leadership-intern.


If your business or group, or even you as an individual, would like to contribute monetary support to help Nevada’s program get a strong three-year start, please contact Gross at: jgross@nevadacubs.org.


To register your child for Camp Invention this summer, go to: https://nevadacubs.revtrak.net/camp-invention/.


Camp Invention is open to children both inside and outside of the Nevada School District until all the spots are filled.