Innovative-Thinkers Camp returns for second year

by Notre Dame News

Students working on a project at Innovative Thinkers Camp Students build lamps from recycled materials during Innovative-Thinkers Camp 2012

The University of Notre Dame is partnering with several local organizations to host the second annual Innovative-Thinkers Camp, a two-week summer experience created to encourage youth in grades seven through nine to obtain skills that will create a mindset for individual achievement in their academic and future career interests. The camp also attempts to cultivate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Michiana region by nurturing the pipeline that feeds local economic development.

This summer, 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, Indiana Black Expo, Ivy Tech Community College, La Casa de Amistad, Mount Carmel Baptist Missionary Church, The Salvation Army, the South Bend Community School Corp., and the YMCA Innovation Delta will partner with Notre Dame to host a second camp Mondays through Fridays from June 10 through June 21. Most days include a guest speaker from the business community sharing their areas of career expertise, and explaining the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) applications in their work. In addition, camp staff and administrators attempt to link students with subject matter experts so that they can discover how to develop their passions and interests into a potential career path or business.

Last year, several Notre Dame departments collaborated with Intel, Lenovo, the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., La Casa de Amistad, 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, and the Memorial Center Pfeil Innovative Center to pilot the Innovative-Thinker’s Camp. The 2012 summer parent and student evaluations were outstanding, with parents reporting immediate positive changes in their children.

Innovative-Thinkers Camp

To maximize the benefits of the program, it is recommended that students participate throughout their seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade years, but three-year participation is not required.

During the first summer, students will:

  • Understand innovation as a key competency for future success by developing an idea for a business presentation
  • Learn communication skills to better communicate with adults, peers and others
  • Understand the use of social media as a tool for personal branding
  • Expand their knowledge of information-seeking behavior, learning to recognize plagiarism and intellectual property (copyright) in the context of information literacy
  • Transition into supplemental programs for academic support

To provide continuity between each summer camp, the program also includes quarterly field trips that include experiential STEAM activities, academic support opportunities with Notre Dame’s TRiO Programs and educational opportunities for parents.

The camp day is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack are provided each day during the camp. Camp sites for the 2013 session include Ivy Tech Community College, Navarre Intermediate Center, the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) and the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture.

Applications may be obtained from the Center for Arts and Culture, the RCLC, the Kroc Center or La Casa de Amistad. Application deadline is May 17 (Friday).

Contact: Jackie Rucker, associate director, community relations, 574-631-3249; Iris Outlaw, director, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, 574-631-6841