STEM Camp: Get Ready for Drone Flight Fun
By Dianne Anderson
Gaming is not just child’s play anymore, but kids and teens are sure to have lots of summer fun with stuff they already love – drone flight, remote gadgets and interactive platforms.
No shortage of entertainment and education through a six-week STEM camp (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). It runs the gamut of projects to keep fidgety kids busy.
“They’re building a gaming unit for computers. We’re going to be utilizing drone racing, ” said Pastor Ralph Williamson of Christ Our Redeemer (COR) A.M.E. Church in Irvine. “We’re going to be building rockets and all kinds of crazy drone activities that they have.”
Students will get a variety of hands-on high technology concepts led by a UCI undergraduate student, who is working on his Ph.D. Each cohort serves about 20 students with one master instructor, and assistant and program coordinator.
Starting in mid-July and runs through August, the STEM camp is open for ten years old up through high schoolers.
“Pastor Ralph” said he is especially excited to engage the younger kids, and lower-income students of color, who are typically left behind by the digital and technological divide.
One reason is that most summer STEM camps are high-priced, but he believes that money shouldn’t be an obstacle to learning. Camp scholarships are available at COR to all those that need help. He said that the camp is showing other positive signs of equity. Last summer, their STEM camp drew in just as many females as males in their drone program.
He said the main priority is getting students ready and developing their confidence to go after computer science and engineering fields. They will be involved in interactive projects and gain more exposure to multiple computer science and engineering disciplines.
“Once you understand STEM and work within the different areas, this becomes a lifestyle. The industry is growing by leaps and bounds,” Pastor Williamson said. “The goal is to create students who have an inherent love for STEM so we can prepare them for college and their future.”
Last weekend, the church also ushered in another exciting milestone for adults and kids.
The flock was finally able to return inside.
The church was open to all members who had pre-registered. Seating was assigned, masks were required, along with temperature checks, following safety of the CDC, state and local guidelines. They had a plan for the flow and exit of the building.
Through the pandemic, Pastor Williamson said they have live-streamed and kept a minimal crew to ensure that everyone had consistent access to the worship service online. It will remain available for those not yet ready to come into the sanctuary.
In preparation for last week’s service, he said they were double checking to make sure all appropriate signs were up.
“We have not dropped our guards on safety,” he said. “At our staff meeting, one of our members had a sign with an emoji with a mask and a thumbs up, and their question was, do you think this is a little too much?”
Quite the contrary, he said, it’s totally accurate.
As difficult as times have been, he said the church remains committed to getting supplies and the essentials out to the community.
Membership with the doors closed has been a challenge, but he emphasized that access to the church has continued to be open to the community through the pandemic. Through their Community Development Corporation arm, they also provide social services at various locations for those in need.
“Regardless of where they are, and regardless of circumstances or conditions that we’re in, the church will always be the church and we have continued to be that kind of church,” he said.
For more information on program dates and times, see the COR CDE website, where parents can visit online to see all available programs.
For more information on youth and other programs, see https://www.corchurch.org/youth