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Camp Invention gets recharge in Roswell

Mason Ehler, right, participates Tuesday afternoon in the “Duck Chuck” module of Camp Invention, which is going on this week at First Baptist Church, 500 N. Pennsylvania. Helping Mason is leader-in-training Nathan Borbas. In the “Duck Chuck” module, children are challenged to build a tool to select a rubber ducky from a flock that got “lost.” They learn about concepts such as geography and trajectory as they build a catapult to get the duck back to its home pond. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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The halls and classrooms of the First Baptist Church are charged with energy this week as children take things apart, put them together and chuck some ducks.

Camp Invention is back in Roswell after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

This year’s camp, with the theme “Recharge,” is the biggest ever with 142 children from kindergarten to sixth grade, Peggy Bohlin said. A retired teacher who now works as STEM educator at the Roswell Public Library, Bohlin has been director of Roswell’s Camp Invention for 14 years.

“This is my home away from home this week,” Bohlin said Tuesday afternoon as she climbed the stairs between floors. The younger children are in classrooms on the second floor, while older children are on the third floor. A large meeting room on the first floor serves as a headquarters and general meeting area for the campers.

The camp started Monday and continues through Friday.

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One of 1,400 Camp Inventions in the country, it’s a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and teaches science, technology, engineering and math. This year, four modules rather than one were offered to each of the two age groups to help comply with COVID-safe practices. Each group moves through each module every day of the camp.

In the “Road Rally” module, the campers will construct a vehicle with the goal of being able to move from land to either air or water with plants and animals as a model for its power. In the Solar Bot module, the kids will construct a solar-powered robotic cricket and a habitat for it.

In the Open Mic module, the campers will take apart a microphone and put it back together, learning about sound along the way. And in the Duck Chuck module, the children are challenged to build a tool to select a rubber ducky from a flock that got “lost” while migrating. They’ll learn about concepts such as geography and trajectory as they try to get the duck back to its home pond.

At the end of the camp, they get to take all the items home.

The camp is put on with the help of seven volunteers, 12 leadership interns, 10 leaders-in-training, eight interns and two assistant directors, many of whom have been with the camp for years, some starting as campers themselves, Bohlin said.

Local donors also make the camp possible, she said, from donations of snacks to prizes for a raffle to raise money for next year’s camp.

“We had generous donors this year so we were able to offer multiple scholarships for kids to attend,” Bohlin said.

Sixty-four of the campers were given scholarships this year to help pay the cost of attending. Bohlin said anyone who would like to donate toward scholarships for next year can call her at 575-420-9955.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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